The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


May 17, 2012

Our View: Fiscal cliff

In August 2011, Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to tax increases and spending cuts to automatically take place in January of 2013.

The Congressional Budget Office has now indicated that the combination of the two actions will remove some $388 billion from the American economy if the mandated actions occur.

The first event that will affect all Americans is rescinding all of the Bush tax cuts enacted in 2003. That means that income taxes will go up for all Americans, returning the country to Clinton-era taxes. Next will be the return to normal Social Security withholdings, again affecting every worker’s paycheck. Finally, defense contractors have said that planned cuts in defense spending — over $100 billion each year — will result in layoffs of around a million workers in the defense industry in America.

The above effects are only the big-ticket items. Medicare payments will be slashed as well and hospitals will be required to lay off workers. Doctors will receive much less in such payments as well. The Alternative Minimum Tax could be further imposed, causing further tax increases, beyond just the effects of rescinding overall lower tax rates implemented by President George W. Bush. Unemployment benefits could also be affected without additional congressional action before January 2013.

Business leaders are already laying plans to implement well in advance of January 2013. Hiring in the defense industry is already slowing, but massive layoffs have not yet occurred. Hospitals are doing all they can to reduce costs now, well in advance of the coming cuts.

Confronting all of these self-imposed economic actions in Washington is like trying to navigate a ship without a rudder, for the moment. It is a presidential election year and neither party has stepped up with bold, new proposals to avoid the looming actions.

Washington will await the outcome of the November 2012 election and then try to put bandages on our fiscal problems with a lame-duck Congress that will have less than two months to act.

The real issue, in our view, however, is that regardless of which party wins or loses in November, the campaign for 2016 will begin on Nov. 7, 2012. On Election Day, we will have only rearranged the deck chairs on our ship while heading into larger and larger fiscal storms.

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  • Other Views Other Views: Eroding court’s authority

    While Kansans were focused on the twists and turns of school finance this past week, lawmakers made an unnecessary and historic change in how the state’s district courts operate, coercively tying the reforms to badly needed funding.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Travesty

    What a travesty that a terrific young man from Spain is on the verge of deportation even though he has proven his worth in America (Globe, April 13).

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: Astonishing transformation

    The transformation of the Republican Party in the last decade is astonishing.

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: The changing view

    It is heartbreaking to hear the decades old trees (which border on South Pennsylvania in Webb City) cracking and being bulldozed down.

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Safe and sound

    Of the 7,500 Joplin and Duenweg homes hit by the 2011 EF-5 tornado, fewer than 20 percent of them had basements.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Funding for state’s roads

    Missouri is finding there is no good alternative to growing the economy, adding new well-paying jobs and expanding the tax base.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Government without apology or explanation

    Americans feel closest to their Uncle Sam at this time of year as he extends his hand for his “fair share” to fund his numerous endeavors.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Step aside

    The people of Joplin made it clear they wanted change at City Hall with their decisive votes to replace two council members.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Serious drawbacks

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) lays out clearly and persuasively the serious drawbacks with so-called right-to-work legislation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Free choice

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) regarding right-to-work seems to assume that if workers are given the choice of joining a union, they won’t join.

    April 16, 2014

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