To the Readers' Forum:
I would like to take a different view of the fiscal cliff we have been hearing so much about.
The concept of a cliff is a myth. It is an attempt to reduce taxes and cut spending. The Bush tax cuts end with Dec.31, 2012. The impact is not on tax returns that need to be filed by April 15, 2013, but those due a year later. With the "cliff" removed, the tax rates and structure can be debated and voted upon without pressure. The lower and middle class taxes will reduce, and there may even be a minor reduction in the new upper income tax rates.
The sequester is a political creation, meant to force cuts in spending. The immediate result will be a cut in military spending, already more than the next 20 countries combined. There will also be cuts in some domestic programs. Both items can be adjusted during 2013 without causing lasting damage.
The big three, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will be untouched in the sequester. Reducing Social Security benefits will make the deficit look smaller, but increase the debt, as the money from Social Security taxes cannot be used for other items. That's also a reason that the 2 percent reduction in the payroll tax must go at the end of the year, as it only increases pressure on the Social Security funds. Social Security will need to be looked at, but again during 2013, without the false pressure of the "cliff".
Jobs are the driving force of the recovery. The Bush tax cuts have shown that tax cuts for the wealthy do not result in jobs, but in increased wealth of the wealthy. Increases in the number of teachers and first responders (police, fire, and EMTs) in a community will increase the amount of money available in the community, resulting in more jobs in the private sector.
So, let the lame duck/do-nothing Congress expire, and let's approach our country's problems in open debate, not with sound bites and political grandstanding.
Arnold F. Zdrojewski