If you followed the so-called fiscal cliff primetime mini-series, hopefully you were satisfied with its made-for-TV ending: last-minute deal, good guy wins, evil is seemingly put to rest, and folks turn off their televisions and make love in order to release the climatic tension (at least that’s how my night ended). Whew, what a Holiday story! But people who love to critically think about what’s disseminated in front of them had to ponder what’s next and wonder, if now that all the political drama is out-of-the-way, did all this back-and-forth just amount to hammering out a framework for what Democrats and Republicans will battle over during 2013?
President Obama was solemn in his statements this morning, conceding that the bill was far from what either side of the aisle wanted:
“While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country, and the House should pass it without delay.”
Additionally, The President appeared steadfast in his resolve to fix the problems that face a majority of Americans:
We can settle this debate, or at the very least not allow it to be so all-consuming all the time that it stops us from meeting a host of other challenges that we face creating jobs, boosting incomes, fixing our infrastructure, fixing our immigration system, protecting our planet from the harmful effects of climate change, boosting domestic energy production, protecting our kids from the horrors of gun violence.
While many pundits and commentators hail this deal as a net win for the President, some feel this deal will widen the economic disparities further. One of the few Senate Democrats against the deal was Iowa senator Tom Harkin, who agreed with much of the legislation but was very skeptical about the real economic benefits to the 99% of Americans who are still unemployed, under-employed, or stagnant in their station:
“Instead, we find ourselves voting on an agreement that fails to address our number one priority—creating good, middle class jobs in Iowa and throughout the country. Further, it does not generate the revenue necessary for the country to meet its needs for everything from education for our children, to job training, to other critical supports for the middle class,” said senator Harkin in his statement after the deal was reached.
In a deal that essentially asks everyone to pay — including the working poor and middle-class families who, literally, had nothing to with the current fiscal state, which is totally unfair — allowing the top earners in America, along with their heirs and financiers, to walk away with their real money not touched – as taxes on dividends, capital gains, and estates are only raised to comfortable lows for the foreseeable future — is malfeasance in real-time. And let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that House and Senate Republicans won’t be on Fox News in a few weeks beating the drum for President Obama to deal with the potentially calamitous sequester cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, farm aid, unemployment benefits, and the myriad of others.
Although the callous Bush-era tax cuts will finally fall by the wayside, the fact that big-city representatives in House (Republican and Democrat) — who have constituents who lobbied to have the pay threshold for what is considered rich in America raised from 250,000 to 400,000 — allowed money to dictate policy meant that the burden of the cost for this deal being approved rested upon raiding the pocketbooks of the middle-America, low-income earners, and the working poor.
And the most sinister of all this so-called fiscal drama is that ones who duplicitously put us in this mess will again not risk much in terms of their wealth, power, and influence. Moreover, there was limited talk in cutting military spending to bring the deficit down, a fact that most economists agree is what prolongs our debt crisis.
On second thought, this mini-series is so egregious, it would not have been green-lighted for release on Lifetime.