There are several dysfunctional thing I see as I watch the fiscal cliff debate. Here are three.
1. They are taking breaks and not talking to each other. How can they expect the public to take this threat seriously if they aren’t.
2. There is absolutely no reason for their discussions to be behind closed doors. What are they afraid that we are going to hear. If the politicians are being reasonable then I would expect them to leap at the chance to argue their points publicly. Instead of working on a solution, which is what they would be doing if there was transparency, I know what they are spending their time on. It is clear to anyone watching that the bulk of the politicians time is spent generating and disseminating talking points. The real problem here is that the non politicians, most notably the economists, are the ones raising their hands and shouting fire. When the politicians cry wolf I am not worried but when the economists shout wolf, I am definitely paying attention. However our politicians aren’t worried, they hear the economists shout fiscal cliff and they spend several weeks of their time trying to rename it from fiscal cliff to fiscal curb. Their theory is obviously to downplay the situation so that no one notices I promise you this though, when we go over the cliff or the curb as the politicians would prefer, the pain will be felt globally and that is certain.
3. The third thing that really bothers me is that the republicans are obviously taking a stand for the sake of taking a stand. This bodes ill for everyone. Increasing the tax on the wealthy is a non starter for them. Fine but why is it a non starter. They claim that this will harm the job creators and kill the economy. Small business will cease to function. Instead of going after the problem of helping small business, they just want to maintain the status quo. Well let me point out that right now we are in a bad place. I am trying to communicate without using a curse word to demonstrate just how bad of a place we are in. This bad place was achieved due to the status quo. If the republicans want to impress me then instead of standing in the way of the tax increase for the wealthy, they would add provisions specifically targeted to help small businesses. Tax the wealthy but maybe cut payroll tax for companies with less a hundred employees. Instead of looking at this as a situation where you must stop the democrats think of it as a chance to compromise. Let the democrats get their tax increase to help pay the deficit and in exchange the republicans should get an opportunity to help small business directly. If the republicans reject this solution then it is obvious that they are not objecting to the taxes because of the damage it will do to small business which is what they claim.