Debate Club

Fiscal Cliff Deal Was an Opportunity Squandered

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Vice President Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, and President Obama came out ahead, and House Speaker John Boehner behind in this "last minute Charlie" fiscal cliff deal. But there's no winners, just one big loser—the common good.

It's atrocious that all parties squandered an opportunity to bring about a comprehensive solution to the debt crisis. It's been over a year since the Simpson-Bowles proposal: a comprehensive plan to bring the government to long-term fiscal health. Had our representatives gotten to work this summer, using this plan to guide rational discussion, I'd be writing today about a win/win for all sides.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the fiscal cliff.]

Negotiators should have also dealt with sequesters instead of punting resolution to March. Dealing with them will coincide with the debt limit discussions, and lead to more intense beltway battles. A mature conversation on optimizing the government is about as likely has as a kindergarten teacher seeing a peaceful cookies and milk session with her students.

The other downside is that both parties demonstrated their continued unresponsiveness to public opinion. This past election revealed that voters want bipartisanship not bipolarity. Congress's ignorance of public desires is just one more example that voters should seek redress in the 2014-midterm elections by voting incumbents out of office.

Jamie Chandler

About Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College

fiscal cliff
Boehner, John
Biden, Joe
Obama, Barack
McConnell, Mitch

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