The fiscal cliff deal is horrible and does next to nothing to control spending.
But of course, it is the Tea Party themselves who are in large part to blame for the situation in the first place. Between their handful of congress critters, and the larger fear they have instilled in many republicans of having the tea party challenge them in elections, their narrowmindness and absolutism have helped cripple congresss.
It was the Tea Party who played a major role in the Debt Ceiling fiasco, of which we will see round two play out late next month.
And of course they were a major force in keeping Boehner from being able to get any agreement on the Fiscal Cliff. Despite Boehner’s grandstanding with his offers, everyone knew it was nothing but show. Boehner could not marshall the votes. He couldn’t even get rebublican support for his so called “Plan B” (Am I the only one who sees the irony in the name matching that of “The Morning After Pill?). A plan which had less tax increases and greater spending cuts then the bill that was finally passed.
So here, let’s look at the various offers in the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, summed up in one nice chart by the Washington Post here.
As I’ve said before- we should have simply gone over the cliff. Waited until the new congress was seated and the new debt ceiling crisis was just a month away.
We would have benefitted from a new congress. Potentially a new speaker of the house. Several weeks of public outcry about the failure and absolutism of congress.
And we would have been faced with two important imperatives in congress: new tax breaks to replace those that expired. And moves to make spending cuts to counteract the across the board nature of the cuts that would have happened.
And we would have, in the debates and legislation that followed, had a real chance to put a mark on everyone in congress. To see just who would put the welfare of the rich above that of americans. Who would put the bloated military before the elderly, sick, and poor.
The fiscal cliff has proven a couple of things. One is that congress continues to refuse to do the hard work they were supposedly elected to do. And second, that the republican party, particularly the far right led by the tea party, has transformed the republican party from an ideology to a religion…or to a sickness. As long as we have small minorities who represent very small segments of america insist that they, and only they know “the truth” and that all must bow before them, America will continue it’s descent to the dustbin of history.