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Mark Caserta: U.S. already has plunged off the fiscal cliff

Dec. 06, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

The term "fiscal cliff," a dramatic metaphor creating the visual of an impending economic precipice for the United States, has certainly been bandied about lately.

But honestly, folks, we've already plunged the so-called fiscal cliff. Now, it's just a matter of how far this administration will allow us to fall.

According to the Treasury Department, our nation is now $16.3 trillion in debt. That's more than $50,000 per man, woman and child in the U.S.

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, places the blame on the Obama administration.

"During less than four years under President Obama's leadership, the national debt has increased an astonishing $5.4 trillion," Brady said in a statement. "And yet the president persists in pushing his agenda of more spending and higher taxes on job creators that is crippling our economy."

"Under President Obama's stewardship, the national debt has grown by more than $4 billion per day, $170 million per hour, $2.8 million per minute and more than $47,000 per second," he said.

And don't forget, in 2011, for the first time in history the U.S. credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's (S&P), following the Washington debt ceiling brawl. In a move that compromised U.S financial stature before the entire world, S&P downgraded U.S. debt from its triple-A rating to AA+.

In September, Moody's, another top rating agency, threatened to cut its triple-A rating on the U.S. government unless congressional leaders forge a budget deal in the coming weeks to bring down the deficit.

House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, blamed Democrats' unwillingness to commit to serious government reductions in spending.

"Today's warning by Moody's underscores the point we have been making all year: the threat to American jobs comes not from action on our debt, but from inaction on our debt," he said.

I'm perplexed why so many Americans can't see this administration's self-serving approach in addressing our debt issue. For any one of us, common sense would dictate reducing unnecessary spending before looking for uncomfortable ways to increase revenues. Yet, Barack Obama seems determined to "purge" the American tax system of any "untapped" revenues before ever considering cutting government spending to reduce the deficit!

I'm convinced this modus operandi will not cease after Obama's initial "tax seizure" from the wealthiest Americans. While it's true this redistribution of wealth has been the "holy grail" campaign promise of the Obama administration, rest assured every financial nook and cranny will be scoured before this administration ever considers capping the president's stimulus mindset.

Ironically, Republicans have offered the more balanced approach by suggesting steps to eliminate unfair tax breaks to increase revenues, parallel with significantly cutting spending and saving Medicare.

Giving the government more money to add to its wasteful spending is insanity.

We don't need tax increases on our job creators right now. We need more taxpayers and a government which can manage the revenue.

The U.S. is beyond the fiscal cliff; we're in a free fall to the bottom.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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