These ideas went nowhere.
Less than 12 hours after the House's New Year's Day vote for the fiscal compromise, renewed demands for deficit spending dominated the Capitol. Democrats and Republicans from New York and New Jersey blasted Boehner for delaying legislation that would provide $27 billion to $60 billion in federal aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy. The sums would be added to the deficit.
It's easy to defend using public money to help Americans walloped by a vicious storm. And that's the heart of the government's inability, or unwillingness, to restrain its borrowing ways.
Every federal dollar, and every federal program, has avid supporters who can defend their functions. And every sector can explain why higher taxes would burden struggling people at the lower end, and "job creators" at the higher end.
High levels of government service. Low levels of taxation. Big deficits to make up the difference. That's what Americans have demanded and gotten from their federal government for years.
The agreement by Obama and Congress to spare Americans the pain of a fiscal cliff is right in line with that tradition.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Charles Babington covers Congress and politics for The Associated Press.
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