Friday, December 21, 2012
As the fiscal cliff looms I am sure that no deal will be made prior to the deadline. This is for one primary reason: self interest on the part of the politicians. A deal prior to the fiscal cliff would be reasonable and practical and helpful and wise. These are not things American politics is primarily interested in.
The way things will play out is the Fiscal Cliff will pass and only then deals will be made. A secondary reason why this will be allowed to happen is because the fiscal cliff is not so dramatic as it sounds. The financial impact will begin slowly, they are what the Atlantic calls a fiscal slope. Basically the cuts will be end up being very pronounced but the immediate impact will come slowly and eat into our recovery over time. The takeaway is the immediate effects are not as bad as you may have been led to believe. So don't freak out.
As I said the primary reason for no deal prior to the deadline is political self interest on both sides. Basically tax hikes and spending cuts that will necessarily begin on Jan 1. Both cuts and tax increases are things that our politicians understand need to happen because for the US to get healthy we need more revenue and less spending. We need to get our budget under control. The problem is that Dems love to social programs and Repubs love low taxes. They promise these things, they run on these promises. Even if it isn't in the best interest of America they know what their constituents want to hear and how they will vote.
So here is the beautiful/sad irony of this arbitrary cliff. Not making a deal plays into the hands of leaders on both sides. Once the spending cuts and tax hikes begin members of both parties can now keep their promises. High taxes are thrust upon us poor Americans, cuts to our social services are enacted and we begin to feel the pinch. A post cliff deal would allow the promises each party made to its supporters to be kept. Repubs can lessen the severity of the tax hikes and Dems can lessen the cuts to social programs. Everyone keeps their promises! That way they won't lose in primaries! Congressmen who are only in self preservation accomplish their primary goal of reelection! Yay for Congressmen! They finally compromised and saved the day! Except they really just gamed us and the system.
All of this to say that our hope should not be in governments or nations. It should not be in individual leaders or institutions.
Like Jesus we need to understand the basic nature of humanity. (John 2:23-25) That all have sinned, that all fall short. That none of us is perfect. Except for the One who came to us on Christmas day millenia ago.
Jesus did not run on selfish promotion but self sacrifice. Jesus came as a poor baby and ended up even lower, dying on a cross between thieves. He laid his life down so that we might be lifted up. He turns the games of this world on their head. And because of that Jesus is the real hero. The one who truly saves the day. If you are sick of the games, sick of manipulation and alternate agendas trust in the One who already gave the greatest gift, for you.