By now we've all heard of the looming fiscal cliff that's swiftly approaching, with less than 25 days until its arrival. Unfortunately, for those of us who'd rather not BASE jump off into financial oblivion, things are looking fairly bleak. In theory, if he were more willing to act as a unifying leader rather than a polarizing ideologue, this could be a monumental occasion for President Obama,
As far as the actual problem is concerned, it's by no means an easy fix, but it's a simple fix. It comes down to a matter of common sense and rationality. If President Obama so desired, he could not only save the U.S. from going over the fiscal cliff, but he could ultimately revive our stalled economy in two simple steps: Cut spending and cut taxes.
Although raising taxes is President Obama's go-to response for solving any fiscal problem that rises its ugly head into the light, it doesn't make sense. The problem doesn't lie within the amount of revenue that the government takes in — it's how much and what they're spending the money on. For example, the $500 million that the Obama Administration spent on a study that was geared towards helping kids "sit still" in kindergarten or more recently, the $4 million holiday vacation expenditure for President Obama and his family.
It’s when the government decides to spend money in this fashion that I can't possibly see how raising taxes would solve any problem. Except that we could finally flip the bill for that much-needed albino squirrel sanctuary — oh wait, we already have. You see, higher taxes would only allow the government to, you guessed it, spend more of your hard earned money on things that are truly stranger than fiction.
Of course, when compared to America's $16 trillion debt , it’s easy to say that a few million dollars here or there is a mere drop in the bucket, all the while making the argument that raising taxes is the best way to generate more revenue. However, we are literally nickel and diming ourselves into financial meltdown with all of these little splurges.
I know that $16 trillion is a hard number to grasp, so I’ll attempt to show just how much money that equates: It’s roughly enough to buy every man, woman and child in America 3 Ford Focuses. (Yes, that’s per person.) When we see just how much money we’re talking about, it’s obvious that something has to give if we want America to keep her head above water. So for the moment I’ll give President Obama some slack and assume that he’s not pushing an agenda, but is sincere when saying that raising taxes is the only way out of this mess.
OK, time's up and here’s why: An estimated $1.4 billion — that’s billion with a B — is the amount of money the American taxpayer spent on the Obama family last year alone. To put that into perspective, Britain’s entire Royal Family cost their taxpayers an estimated $57.8 million last year, which is a bloody bargain compared to the Obamas. Yet, we’re supposed to look towards President Obama for guidance on how to stop the fiscal cliff and get our debt under control — and his answer is to raise taxes? How about leading by example, Mr. President, instead of by exception?
Raising taxes not only lacks logical reasoning, especially when overtly absurd monetary decisions seem to be the government's rule instead of the exception, but it creates another problem as well. It takes useful capital from those who, traditionally, are able to take risks, start companies and hire employees.
I don't know about you, but I've never been employed by a poor man. If you have been, I doubt it lasted for too long. I know that it sounds good to take from the rich and give to the poor, but when you take from the rich, you keep people poor, since a portion (if not all) of the money that an employer would of had to give his or her employees raises or hire extra help has now been confiscated by the government. And so, ultimately, has your paycheck. It's simple: When the rich have more money, you'll have more money and better opportunities to advance your career in the long run.
Between cutting horrendous Twilight Zone-esque spending, coupled with cutting taxes, President Obama could change the momentum and direction of our country in an instant. If instead of playing class warfare politics, he embraced the successful, promoted the entrepreneurial spirit and exemplified the idea of American exceptionalism, then he could very well be known as the most unifying president in all of modern times.
In the more likely case, however, President Obama will wait for the Republicans to waffle and jump ship faster than you can say RINO (or John Boehner) or just drive us all right over that cliff. Either which way, it's a lose-lose for America and a missed opportunity for President Obama to truly be great.