I don’t know about anyone else but when I start hearing talk about falling off a cliff, or going over one, it sounds like it is going to hurt. With that in mind, why would anyone ever want to willingly let us fall over the edge? I think that is what rational people mutter to themselves whenever they hear the latest “fiscal cliff” news on the television, radio, or newspaper. A feeling of déjà vu comes over me, when I remember just two short months ago we were threatened with the same cliff in January, only this time it is bigger. It doesn’t really matter whether it is January or March, I don’t want to go over it. Or do I? Some people are thrill seekers; my husband for instance, didn’t mind jumping out of a perfectly good airplane when he went to jump school back in his Marine Corps days. When our youngest son was a child, I would often shriek when I looked out the window, and saw him climbing to the tippy top of a very tall tree in our backyard. I, on the other hand, don’t generally think of myself as a “treetop” kind of gal, although some would say marrying a military man was definitely taking a risk. At this point, however, I am feeling like one of those teenagers in a coming of age film that is out there sneering and cheering at the confused, approval seeking kid standing on the top of hill debating whether or not to jump off the bridge into unknown waters. At this point, when I hear the news, I am ready to scream “jump already,” as we wait for our lawmakers to come to some kind of consensus on the direction this country needs to take fiscally.
I decided to do a little research on the web to try to educate myself, the very first article I came to was rather enlightening, I felt like I was beginning to get the picture, and was ready to make a few notes, when I realized I was reading a Shri Lankan news website, hmmm…I know it can be interesting to gain another country’s perspective on what is happening in our country, but this time I wanted to see what Americans thought Americans should do. President Obama as quoted on the New York Times website says, "One thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they've already racked up.” http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/obama-faces-debt-battle-go.... I think almost all of us agree that we need to pay the tab, but I can’t really comprehend what $16 trillion dollars debt really means, and how we should pay for it. I do know that is a lottttt of money, and I know in our house we attempt to bring down our debt.
It is easy to believe that “those people in Washington,” are from another country, but it is not Shri Lanka, it is the good ole USA, and the cliff we are standing on, is our pile of debt. The argument we are having is whether we should bring in new money (revenue) or redirect the money we have in order to whittle down that mountain of debt. Redirecting money, stirs up passions, if you believe in a program, you don’t want to cut the money coming into it, In “Staring Down the Fiscal Cliff” http://www.hcn.org/blogs/goat/staring-down-the-fiscal-cliff, National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis, discusses the potential effects on hiring employees to care for the National Parks. If the money is cut, we will not be able to care for the parks as we currently do, according to the article. President Teddy Roosevelt would be appalled. On the other hand, if we cut defense spending, we risk our security. Two days ago, "The secretary of defense delayed the deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and the USS Gettysburg (CG-64), which were scheduled to depart Norfolk, Va., citing budget uncertainty as the reason. http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/military-reduces-aircraft-carri.... And so it goes, from Medicare to federal furloughs. I remember when the then campaigning Pres. Obama, said he wanted to take a scalpel to the budget and delicately carve out the waste of money in our budget, sounds good to me, but that requires putting the patient on the table. I am also reminded of surgeries during the Civil War; when the decision had to be made to amputate an infected limb to save the soldier’s life. Growing a cliff the size of Mt. Everest does not sound like a good option, and a hatchet job instead of a scalpel doesn’t sound like a good option either. But since we keep standing on the tip of the cliff debating whether to go over, I say “jump” instead of doing nothing.