The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


November 27, 2012

Edge of the cliff


There are 35 calendar days left in 2012 and it could be, perhaps, the most important time in modern history for America’s Congress.

With an array of tax cuts, the so-labeled “fiscal cliff” we are about to plunge over could send our country into yet another recession — except this time it could well be the worst we’ve ever seen in the United States.

The build-up to this looming financial Armageddon has been taking place for quite some time. Our major political parties and those elected to represent us on Capitol Hill have actually been letting it simmer for years — and that is scandalous.

Gridlock, and we are not talking about the traffic, has been prevalent inside the Washington Beltway for far too long and this month’s elections did nothing to help resolve the problem.

No mandates were issued by the American electorate other than that we are as divided as we’ve been in quite some time.

But current times dictate that compromise has to become the rule of the day.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., may have put it best this past weekend when he said Congress faces “a test of political courage” to address fiscal reform between now and Dec. 31.

“In business I found that a challenging environment often produced our best opportunities. Perhaps that’s why I see the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ of year-end spending cuts and tax increases not as an impassable precipice, but as our best opportunity to finally enact meaningful fiscal reform,” Corker stated. “I hear Washington watchers and people in the hallways of Congress saying there is not enough time to get this done this year. I disagree. The hard part has already been done. Over the past two years, the options for reaching a $4 trillion deficit reduction deal have been drafted, charted, graphed, circulated, evaluated, dissected, leaked, reported, debated and then put on the shelf for another day.

“That day has come. The fiscal cliff is a deadline of the 112th Congress’s making. We have had two dry runs over the past two years. No Congress is better suited to address these issues than this one. It is our responsibility to solve these problems now. Kicking the can down the road — setting up a process for token deficit reduction today with the promise of more reforms later — is misguided and irresponsible and shows a total lack of courage.”

Our own Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has been bemoaning for months the lack of willingness among those in Washington to find permanent financial solutions rather than “Band-Aids” or temporary fixes.

The federal debt and spending are out of control; the time has come for the executive and legislative branches to work side-by-side for the good of our country.

Corker said the challenge isn’t “one of intellect, aptitude or time” and he’s exactly right.

It’s about coming together to put our country back on some solid financial ground.

Displaying moral fiber can be a tough, tall order some times — the time is now to make the right decisions and protect American families and their future.

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