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Will the U.S. Fall Off the Fiscal Cliff?

14 December 2012

Things with the fiscal cliff the United States seemed to look good. After the news of it blew up around the world, the two sides fought and fought some more before coming together and having what seemed to be a real heart-to-heart. President Obama was photographed slapping Republican House Speaker, John Boehner, on the back in an atta’ boy kind of fashion. They were talking things were good.

But then the two sides met again yesterday. And things seemingly have gone back to Square One.

Yesterday President Obama and John Boehner met for 50 minutes at the White House. And things didn’t go as smoothly as they had during their last meeting. What’s the problem?

The same thing that’s always been there. The President wants to tax the wealthiest 2 per cent of America to increase revenue and stop the drop off the cliff. Mr. Boehner and the Republican party are adamant that taxes aren’t to raise for anybody, not even that 2 per cent. Instead, they think that spending needs to be cut – drastically.

“It’s clear the president is just not serious about cutting spending. But spending is the problem,” is what Mr. Boehner said in an interview after the meetings. “The president wants to pretend spending isn’t the problem. That’s why we don’t have an agreement.I’m willing to do a lot more cuts in spending, we also need to pair it up with a little revenue…couple two dollars of spending cuts for one dollar of revenue.”

The President does seem to know that spending is much of the problem. His plan includes a $600 billion cut to spending. But also a $1.4 trillion in tax increases. But the Republicans think those numbers should be closer to $800 billion in revenue increases and $1.4 trillion in cuts to spending.

But the President hasn’t only had to contend with fighting with members of the opposition, people in his own party also haven’t been entirely on board when it comes to where he plans on cutting spending. While one of his ideas was to raise the eligibility age limit to 67 from its current age of 65, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi quickly shot that down with a “don’t even think about it.”

President Obama also had his own comments to make about the most recent meeting between the two. Not surprisingly, his views show the vast difference between the two. And they also show that this issue goes far deeper than tax increases, spending cuts, and the fiscal cliff. It’s a party issue.

“They have a philosophical objection; on the other hand, we’re willing to make some really tough decisions about spending cuts. My sense is, it’s less an issue of trust; I think that this has more to do with politics. You know, I think the idea of not raising taxes has become sort of a religion for a lot of members of the Republican Party. ”

He continued to say, “I think Speaker Boehner has a contentious caucus, as his caucus is tough on him sometimes, and so he’s constantly…doesn’t want to look like he’s giving in to me somehow, because that might hurt him in his own caucus. There are real philosophical differences on the issue.”

So what’s the answer? There still isn’t one. At least not one that can be agreed upon. And time is running out.

The crux of the entire thing is that, if taxes aren’t raised to the extent the Democrats want them to be, everyone in the United States is going to be hit by higher taxes. And the polls are currently showing that if that does in fact happen, the Republicans are the ones that will be to blame.

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