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Will Santa Bring Us The Fiscal Cliff This Year?


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There are exactly 3 weeks to go until we hit the Fiscal Cliff. 3 weeks until deep spending cuts and tax rises drag the US back into recession. 3 weeks until extended benefits for the long-term unemployed and a temporary cut to payroll taxes expire.


For the average American family, these are 21 long days of terror before the huge twist of fate: will they sink even deeper into poverty or will they hang on for a while longer?


Their fate is in the hands of Obama and Boehner and their willingness to reach consensus before January, 1st. But even though they have the burden of an entire nation on their backs, neither the president, nor the top Republican lawmaker doesn`t seem to be open to compromise.



On Sunday, the president and Speaker Boehner met at the White House to talk about solutions to resolve the fiscal cliff. Hopes were up that this particular meeting will be the final one… and a decision will finally be agreed upon. But that wasn`t the case.


After the meeting, both Amy Brundage – White House spokeswoman – and Michael Steel – spokesman for Boehner – made identical declarations:


“We’re not reading out details of the conversation,

but the lines of communication remain open.”


Which leaves 313,000,000 Americans still on the edge, having absolutely no idea what will happen with them in less than a month.


Some say the refusal to talk about the meeting is a good sign. For example, USA Today claims that “as the White House and Congress approach an end-of-the-year deadline, the near-silence from Obama and Boehner about their talks may well be a sign they are getting close to a new debt reduction deal.”


That`s probably because the last time the two met to talk about the fiscal cliff, they started blaming each other for not reaching consensus and insulting each other`s solutions to avert a new recession. So, now that they finally agreed on what to say in public, it means they evolved. They are now mature enough not to throw sticks and stones and ready to save America from going down like a house of cards.


But isn`t USA Today`s supposition a bit too optimistic? According to different media channels, Obama and Boehner are just as in love with their own plans as before:







In fact, Obama is holding on so tightly to his solution (taxing the rich), that he`s going on an “American tour” to convince people Republicans are trying to send millions into poverty. Last week, he visited a toy manufacturer in Michigan to promote his solution and stain the Republicans` image by saying:



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These so-called ‘right to work’ laws (proposed by Republicans), they don’t have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics,” Mr Obama said. “What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.(BBC)


On the other hand, Boehner says he`s prepared to consider Obama`s idea, increasing tax revenue… but not by raising rates for the rich. Instead, he wants to close all loopholes and limit deductions, without changing any tax rates. 


Now, this doesn`t sound exactly like Obama and Boehner are going to kiss and makeup, does it? And even if they do finally reach a consensus by December, 31st (which I highly doubt)… that doesn`t mean we`re saved and we can start cheering our way through 2013.


The consensus is just the first step of the process. According to USA Today, after Obama and Boehner make up their minds about the future of our country, the Republican-run House and Democratic Senate must vote to approve the decision. Both chambers must develop specific legislation and call members back to Washington for votes.


So in the next 3 weeks, 313,000,000 Americans are depending on an unlikely consensus and a voting session, where a handful of suits sipping on their coffee raise their hands (or not) to decide the fate of an entire nation. In the meanwhile, welcome to reality:



This is where you and I live. And think about it: if a compromise isn`t made by January, 1st, it will get even worse. Think someone can call Obama and Boehner on Mount Olympus and invite them to hang out down here, for a couple of weeks? Maybe that will rush that consensus a bit…


By Alec Deacon



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