It’s just about over: The country is gong over the fiscal cliff. To reiterate, this means that income tax rates will increase for most Americans to levels that existed during the Clinton administration, and Draconian spending cuts in defense and social programs will take effect.
Where are the millennials in this debate? The group has been silent since these conversations have begun. Millennials whine about how Baby Boomers have screwed up America, spent too much over the years, and have stolen Social Security from them. But now, when proposals to reduce spending while increasing taxes on the rich, are offered by conservatives, millennials are mute. A solution that includes entitlement reform should be a high priority for millennials.
Congress and the president have created a monster, a doomsday mechanism reminiscent of the one in Dr. Strangelove. In effect, a financial bomb will explode if the opposing sides do not find a compromise. There is no stopping this event unless both sides agree. At the time it was negotiated, the fiscal cliff was created because a grand bargain was unattainable, so both sides punted and created an artificial crisis. And now, the chicken has come home to roost. The competing sides are incompetent negotiators putting personal ideology and political power ahead of the country’s well being, so now there is no solution at hand.
Ironically, affluent people have not resisted an inevitable increase in their tax rates and/or elimination of tax benefits. They appreciate that contributing to a compromise is critical to the process. The only proviso has been a hope that in return the president would work diligently and in good faith to reduce spending; he has not done so.
It is shameful that this expectation has been so elusive. In a previous article, I provided evidence that certain entitlements will likely bankrupt the country in the years to come if they are not reformed. Liberals have refused to agree to deal with this issue, wantonly jeopardizing the country’s future. Our children and grandchildren will have a heavy load. Further, the naysayers are emerging from the woodwork offering a multitude of reasons why eliminating tax benefits will not be acceptable to everyone but the rich.
Boehner has responded to a totally one-sided proposal from the president. Obama wants to increase taxes for those earning over $400,000. For this, he wants huge concessions from the wealthy, a long-term extension to the debt ceiling crisis, and no action relating to large and threatening entitlements. Why would Boehner agree to this proposal? Why would fiscal conservatives in Congress support the speaker if he agreed to Obama’s plan? Why would conservatives give-up their negotiating power for such a meager offer from the Democrats?
Frankly, Republicans would be stupid and irresponsible to go along with Obama. The rich are willing to step up with revenue, and Obama should respond with a rock solid plan to reduce spending. If he does so, he might have a deal.
The rhetoric must stop. Conservatives don’t want to starve little babies or cease to provide aid to those who really need it. And please, Mr. President, don’t involve the Newton massacre or Hurricane Sandy in the debate. Let’s reform entitlements before we become Greece. At some point, the financial markets are going to cap U.S. debt if we continue to allow the national debt to rise much further and fail to institute a realistic plan to get our financial house in order.
Millennials should be leading the way regarding the debt crisis. Your generation is going to assume responsibility of the massive debt that is plaguing our country. I urge you to become engaged immediately.