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The fiscal cliff: Time to stop dividing, start making decisions

You hear and read a lot about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge (a creation of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform) related to the “fiscal cliff.” Norquist has become the scapegoat for a congressional body that ceases to function.

I think it’s a bit tragic when there is a pledge-in-force to not raise taxes, but spending goes unchecked. It’s a bipartisan tragedy, leading our country further down a path of destruction.

There is a general consensus that increasing taxes at this juncture could lead to a relapse into recession. However, the Democrat’s redistribution of wealth plan, taxing the top one percent, would seem to put a dent in private production since that sector accounts for nearly 40 percent of all income tax.

Logic would dictate that leaving more in the private sector would do more to boost the economy than giving it to an ultra-inefficient federal government. Did we not just spend trillions of dollars on federal stimulus packages and the needle barely moved?

Does anyone else remember the Obama administration’s rhetoric about being more like Europe after his first election? All of the dependency, lack of ambition and insolvency that is Europe today appears to be our destiny as we plod along in single file.

The Republicans have squandered the few good opportunities they had to make a difference. As for the Democrats, they are settling for failure.

The Democrats used to refer to themselves as “progressive,” but those days are gone. They aspire now only to backdoor socialism. They cannot produce a meaningful future for our country, so they settle for circling the wagons around the entitlement system, convincing our young people that ambition is sinful, producing the view that wealth should be seized and everyone should be equal.

I have always found it interesting that the philosophy of forced economic equality is championed most by university elites who have their jobs and salaries protected by tenure, immune from downturns in wages.

By contrast, if our population was forced up to the standard of the privileged university thought leaders in order to make things more equal (I can assure you they would never come down to our level), the system would collapse under the pressure a la Europe.

The one positive aspect of initially electing a person of color to the highest post in the land, we assumed, was it would bring more national unity. In fact, one of the President’s famous speeches on eliminating the concept of White Americans and Black Americans and just have Americans encouraged our belief that it was possible.

The problem was, however, that the philosophies of forced economic equality and creating government dependency necessitated the segregation of the population by gender, race and class in order to advance. Solidarity would not allow them to achieve their goals.

During a regional T-SPLOST debate, Chris Leinberger of the Brookings institute could not justify his desire for the ultra-expensive wide use of light rail trains as a means for resolving traffic congestion. Eventually, his argument deteriorated to using the race card as to why his positions were not accepted.

Days later, as reported in the Marietta Daily Journal, Leinberger admitted to a transit-friendly audience that his light rail train concept would not relieve traffic congestion, but he managed to use the race card again in an effort to bring Democrats to the polls to vote for a bad transportation plan.

The Dec. 2 AJC had an op-ed from outgoing MARTA General Manager Beverly Scott. Regarding her inability to give transit a larger role in the area, Scott felt compelled to say, “This region’s progress will be determined by its ability to overcome the insidious impacts of race and class that continue to hold it back.”

MARTA’s Scott admitted the T-SPLOST process left a lot of unanswered questions, minority majority districts voted T-SPLOST down, a KPMG report showed significant financial waste with MARTA and her own Board of Directors hired a consultant to determine if Scott’s management style was wrecking the system, yet we are told it is insidious race and class issues holding transit expansion and the region back.

We need people on both sides of the political aisle to wake up. The fiscal cliff is just a bump in the road compared to what awaits our country. The Congressional Budget Office estimates we will have a $5 trillion budget by 2020. With our swelling senior population and the distressed entitlement programs all we can do is buy more time before insolvency arrives.

It’s time to stop dividing the country by gender, race and class and start making some tough decisions.

Steve Brown

Fayette Commissioner, Post 4

Peachtree City, Ga.



The fiscal cliff issue is currently in hot debate by both parties on how to resolve this so-called crisis. Let's review how this fiscal problem came to be. At the end of Clinton's second term we had a balanced budget with a surplus on hand. This was accomplished with a combination of revenues and spending control. Clinton reformed welfare and streamlined government with the Republican's help which both helped to decrease spending. However Clinton also raised taxes on the top 2% with no help from any Republican because of their allegiance to Grover Norquist who intimidates elected Republicans to sign the pledge of never raising taxes or be lobbied against by working against their reelection efforts.

George W. Bush is elected and wastes no time in spending the the surplus and creating a gigantic deficit along with increased spending. Bush's difference of governing philosophy created the astounding debt crisis that our government is now trying to solve. Bush and his Vice President stated that deficits do not matter in our economy and that economic growth spurred by tax cuts would eliminate the deficit. Tax cuts for the middle class do help the economy by allowing for greater disposable income thus increasing demand for goods and services. This demand is the by far the greatest driver of job growth as business and corporations seek to meet that demand.

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