We’ve heard news about the fiscal cliff until we’re probably all tired of it and are just glad the dealing is over…
I have to wonder, however, if most folk outside of a few fellow political junkies are entirely clear about what the fiscal cliff is, what deal was struck, and what it means for us lowly peons who don’t speak lawyerese.
I will attempt to explain it as well as I can given that I’m, 1) not a math genius 2) not a lawyer & 3) sick of the very thought of it, by breaking it down into ‘regular folk’ language and simplifying it as much as I can without losing the substance of the thing. Here goes…
This all leads back to the Budget Control Act of 2011.. *snort-laugh* budget control…*ahem* that addressed the debt ceiling crisis of that year. (Is anyone else noticing a pattern in regards to our government, spending, and crises? Anyone??) The changes that were set to take place at midnight Dec 31, 2012 were:
TAXES: 1) Last year’s temporary payroll tax cuts would expire [resulting in a 2% tax increase for workers. Lovely. Slave away, peons, Master Obama needs your taxes.] 2) The “Bush tax cuts” would expire [Bush tax cuts translator: Lower federal income tax for everyone, decrease in the marriage penalty, increase in the child tax credit Yay families!, etc.] 3) We would begin seeing taxes related to Obamacare. [Remember the tax that's not a tax until the law Pelosi&Co crammed down our collective throats would be found unConstitutional unless it's a tax?? There was this whole hullabaloo at the Supreme Court about it. Enjoy your "free" birth control, ladies, which will result in higher taxes on everything you buy now! ], etc., etc.
SPENDING: The spending cuts agreed upon as part of the deal would go into effect, including cuts to the defense budget and Medicare. It’s so cute how politicians pretend to want to stop spending our money, isn’t it?? Bless their hearts.
I have to note at this time that raising the debt ceiling via the “Budget Control Act” was considered the only plausible fix to the problem of our government spending, spending, spending, and having no plan to pay down the debt or indeed any intention of staying within a budget (seeing as how they have HAD NO BUDGET for over 1,000 days). I have to point that out because it is an out of control SPENDING government that has caused ALL of these problems and then proposes “fixes” that in no way, shape, or form limit the amount of spending that we as tax payers are expected to pay for.
*Ahem* Mini-rant over. Where was I? Oh yes, the fiscal cliff…
No, not THAT Cliff.
So the cliff was this big scary economic reckoning that would burden an already weak economy with heaps of higher taxes. Remember just before the election when Obama said the economy was ‘doing fine’? Wasn’t that precious!?
So.. what did the sage wizards of Capitol Hill do about this impending doom?
Two good things have come of this deal: 1) Most of the Bush tax cuts are permanent. [Taxes will go up on higher incomes, just as King Obama promised in his class warfare campaign. You know, all those "rich" people who hire less rich people to do jobs that they are paid a wage for..] & 2) Taxing and spending have been de-linked, to be dealt with as separate issues. [Good news! If you were missing fiscal cliff talks already you'll get a bonus round! Woot! ]
Now before you run off and spend all that money you’ll save in tax cuts, let me remind you that this is Congress we’re dealing with and if you thought there would be only good to come of this deal then… you don’t know Congress.
So what’s the bad in the deal? Well… 1) Taxes are still going up & 2) “Special interest” tax benefits are extended ["Railroad track maintenance credit" because it's 1835, y'all!, recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes Wonder if these will be named after the venerable Ted Kennedy?, special expensing rules for film and television, and subsidies for alternative energy. I like to call this the Solyndra Cliff ].
Knowing our taxes are helping Hollywood make crap movies that they’ll charge us $10/person to see just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside doesn’t it?
Hopefully this has helped you gain a better understanding of the Fiscal Cliff and subsequent dealing. All of the research I did to get to this diluted and simplified explanation has created what I call a cuteness deficit in my thought processes. I’ll need furry animal memes to repair the damage done by this trip into Lawyerland’s Tax&Spend Extravaganza.
Oh! I almost forgot…
Just so you know that Obama is serious about saving us from falling off the Fiscal Cliff, you should know that he granted a pay increase for Congress, which shocked even Congress given that they are supposed to be saving us from economic ruin. Don’t worry, the order was rescinded in time for Obama to address the Fiscal Cliff crisis and fly back to Hawaii at an additional cost of over $3 million in addition to the cost of his $4 million family vacation. He’s all about leading by example.