Our View: 'Cliff' deal still leaves more on the table

Jan. 02, 2013 @ 10:08 AM

As those of us in Rutherford County were winding down New Year's Eve celebrations, the U.S. Senate came together to pass a deal averting the impending "fiscal cliff."

The accord, passed 89-8 early Tuesday morning, was meant to halt across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the first of the year.

The deal includes raising tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families. That is a far cry from the $250,000 that President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats had campaigned on during a rough 2012 election cycle.

On the flip side, Republicans gave in to allowing any tax increase on the wealthy at all.

Entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security appear to be unscathed ... for now.

The deal, which still requires House approval — which is no guarantee — puts a band aid on a problem that both Congress and the White House have known about for several weeks now.

Any thoughts of a grand master plan to solve the immediate dilemma seems to have been pushed farther back on the table.

Neither side has shown much in the way of being compromising dealmakers and, as the process appears to need to carry over into the coming months, it doesn't appear that is going to change.

Both sides campaigned on needing to work with both sides of the aisle and that promise seemed to stop after the election was concluded.

Regardless of whether this new deal is approved and whether a longer-term solution is reached in the near future, Congress and the White House have seemingly forgotten who their partisanship and political wrangling hurt the most ... us.

This has drug on over the last several weeks with very little discussion or dealmaking until the 11th hour.

Both sides have done a sufficient job of talking about what they believe a deal should be, but neither have done much past that talk.

It was a little dismaying to see that neither side came to the table until the Thursday before the deadline for the "cliff."

If a temporary deal is reached and passed in Washington, the stage will be set for more finger-pointing, gerrymandering and all of the typical games we have all come to expect from our elected leaders.

This does nothing but frustrate the electorate, but that message doesn't seem to ring clear in Washington. It has become more about partisan politics and less about crafting a deal that best suits all Americans.

Moving forward, our elected leaders have an obligation to represent all of us, not just some of us.

In the end, it is all of us that are impacted by their inability to reach an accord.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark