In the wake of New Year's highly-touted fiscal cliff deal, many people are divided on how they view it. Some are elated that we have put off making that hard decision about government spending for another day, while others are more pessimistic about when the piper will finally get paid. Here are five things I have learned about our government, especially over the last few days.
1. Government is full of drama queens
The fiscal cliff negotiations looked like the auditions to appear on MTV’s My Super Sweet Sixteen rather than a discussion about our future financial obligations. This may be indicative of our culture as a whole, where people spend more time watching "realty" television than actually living in reality. It seems that the only way for congress and the president to get their much need attention is to act like squabbling children, and hand out ultimatums like they are candy canes, while we all watch as they refinance our future to buy themselves another term in office.
2. Government is clueless
Once they got everyone’s attention, they proceeded to squander it by discussing marginal changes in the tax rate and minute budget cuts that would supposedly bring our already teetering economy to its knees. (I will tell you one thing that will bring someone to his knees: a debt that is bigger than their annual salary and future obligations bigger than everyone else’s salaries combined.) There seems to be a handful of people in the Metro DC area who even have a clue what the problems are, and have an idea of what austerity really means. I can assure you than virtually none of them were heeded by the vast majority of our political class. How they continue to live in denial of the real danger that awaits us, I do not know.
3. Government is ineffectual
The whole affair ended with a rather anti-climactic — but rather predictable — outcome of marginal tax increases and deference on the austerity. Although I and many others were not surprised that they once again played the illusionist in the disappearing act of our financial future, it is sometimes disconcerting that every time these issues come up, the spendthrift politicians get their way. When will the pilfered get a win?
4. Government is spineless
Now we are left with a few tax increases and absolutely no cuts in spending or future obligations that add up to upwards of $86.8 trillion. Instead it will be deferred to another all or nothing political standoff that will end in minimal changes and kicking the can down the road to the next big hold up. President Obama’s platform of “a change you can believe in” has proven to be the biggest political counterfeit ever seen. It seems to be business as usual in Washington, passing the buck to the next generation.
5. Government is insane
Albert Einstein once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results was the definition of insanity. I propose that the vast majority of our politicians are insane by this definition. They continue to try the same policies over and over again, each time hoping to get a different result. When will we all learn that spending too much on credit again and again will not solve our economic situation only make things worse? When?