There is bipartisan agreement in Washington, D.C.
Our nation’s leaders — at least some of them — know the nation is growing increasingly weary of the upcoming “fiscal cliff” and the stalled negotiations to avoid the hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take place the first of the year.
“Nobody wants to go over this fiscal cliff. It will damage our economy. It will hurt every taxpayer. It will be the largest tax increase in history, affect everybody,” Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said on CNN on Wednesday. “And anyone who’s watching who thinks, ‘Oh, this isn’t going to impact me,’ you will find out that it will.”
Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent and the 2000 Democratic vice presidential candidate, said, “If we allow that to happen, it will be the most colossal consequential act of congressional irresponsibility in a long time, maybe ever in American history, because of the impact it’ll have on almost every American.”
Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, called on all 435 members in the House, 100 senators and President Barack Obama to show leadership.
“And you know what is happening?” Conrad added. “What is happening is the same old tired blame game. He said/she said. I think the American people are tired of it. What they want to hear is, ‘What is the solution?’”
Making the battle all the more difficult to understand is that, as The Associated Press reported last week, Democratic and Republican leadership is not that far apart.
Obama wants to raise taxes by about $20 billion a year more than Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio. The two men differ over spending cuts by roughly the same amount.
In comparison, the federal government expects to collect about $2.6 trillion and spend approximately $3.6 trillion in 2013, as part of a U.S. economy that is well over $15 trillion.
In their talks last week that were initially labeled promising, Obama proposed raising taxes by $1.2 trillion over the coming decade by boosting the current top 35 percent rate to 39.6 percent for income over $400,000, plus other increases on the highest-earning Americans. In the campaign, Obama called for an end to the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making more than $200,000 or families making more than $250,000.
He also says he’s offered about $1.2 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, including slowing the growth of benefits from Social Security and other programs. His proposed spending cuts also include $400 billion in savings from Medicare and Medicaid, the health care programs for the elderly and poor whose defense Democrats consider precious priorities.
Boehner has offered about $1 trillion in tax increases and roughly the same amount in spending savings.
Just as Obama has Democrats opposed to his proposed spending cuts, Boehner has Republicans who will not go along with tax increases for anyone — reportedly about 40 members. The speaker abruptly canceled a House vote last Thursday night on his so-called Plan B, a measure that would have prevented looming tax increases on everyone but people earning more than $1 million annually.
Without action, though, taxes are going up across the board — not simply on amounts earned over $200,000, $250,000, $400,000 or $1 million.
Despite all the rhetoric, tax increases, spending cuts or reductions in the rates of growth aren’t going to solve the nation’s financial difficulties. That will only come through solid, sustained growth, which will never occur with these games of “chicken” in Washington. In fact, experts predict that another recession is a strong possibility if an agreement is not reached.
The Senate is scheduled to be in session today, and Obama is returning to the White House from a Christmas vacation in Hawaii. Is finding a way to avoid real financial peril in the year ahead — meaning give on both sides — too much to ask?
There is bipartisan agreement in Washington, D.C.
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
- More Opinion Headlines
- ‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia