Well, everyone, the election season has officially ended, and it is back to reality for the United States. It is time to face the reality that our government is divided internally, and Republicans and Democrats are at each other’s throats. Very little effective legislation has been passed in the Senate or the House.
These problems will come to a head in the next few months, with the appropriately-named “fiscal cliff” looming and very little being done about it. The fiscal cliff is a term used to describe the effect that certain laws and policies are going to have on the tax burden of the American people and total government spending. This fiscal cliff is, in the most basic terms, a massive combination of spending cuts and tax increases that could potentially cripple the economy.
During the election, politicians were relatively quiet about what they were going to do about the cliff, and what legislation they were going to try to pass in order to steer the country away from the drop. As it stands, the Democrats are not in favor of any sort of large spending cut by the government, particularly in the form of social security or welfare; Republicans are for working to limit the size of the government and managing the deficit that way. Most importantly, neither party is 100 percent in favor of extreme tax increases for the largest tax base, the middle class.
Recently, however, Obama has announced a plan to increase the taxes on the wealthiest Americans, a move that has been, for the most part, avoided by politicians with the implementation of trickle-down economics. Although there are ideas on the table to help resolve the fiscal cliff, partisanship could be devastating for every citizen of the United States.
House Majority Leader John Boehner announced after the end of the presidential election that he is willing to work with the president and House Democrats to solve the issue of the fiscal cliff. This is all fantastic, but it really does not mean anything, because it has become obvious that the legislative branch can talk the talk, but when it comes down to it, they cannot walk the walk. Looking at when the federal budget needed to be passed just a few years ago, the gridlock was so severe in the House there was almost no agreement upon what budget would be passed due to the failures of our two-party system.
Hopefully in the coming months we will see Congress turn over a new leaf where compromise will finally be acceptable, and both parties will work together to benefit the American people rather than the egos of individuals. The people of the United States deserve better than what they have been receiving; the polarization of political parties has taken us down a path of inaction and self-destruction. This fiscal cliff is the perfect opportunity for the Republican-headed House to show us if it actually has what it takes to move forward through compromise and innovation. Although I am hopeful, I have my doubts.
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