TERRE HAUTE —
Doesn’t this episode seem strangely familiar? A rerun we hoped we’d never have to see again?
Congress, after a nasty partisan battle, managed to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff” in early January by agreeing to raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans and putting off action on impending budget cuts until early March.
So here we are. Feb. 27. The massive cuts called for by the infamous “sequester” are looming. The very same dilemma that produced fiscal cliff fears to begin with remains, and Congress doesn’t seem prepared to deal with it.
It’s not just Congress either. The White House is engaged in turning up the heat on potential impact on the country, but doesn’t seem to be devoting the same level of energy to forging a compromise with congressional Republicans. President Obama may be relying on the GOP to cave in to Democrats’ demands, which is somewhat understandable given his convincing re-election victory in November and concessions from Republicans on higher-income tax rates in January.
But the time has come when we’d prefer to see the president use his political capital to achieve something productive for the voters who re-elected him.
We realize he can’t do it alone. He needs to forge a compromise. But he can’t reach any agreement with congressional Republicans if he doesn’t make a realistic effort to do so.
Again, we have a stalemate. Obama and congressional Democrats want increased revenue through taxes, along with scaled-down spending cuts. Most Republicans want to do it with only aggressive spending cuts.
While the issue is maddeningly complicated in some respects, there are a couple of basic truths most Americans clearly understand. You can’t tax your way to economic prosperity, nor can you cut your way to prosperity. A balanced approach is needed. While that may be easier said than done, it’s a principled strategy that certainly stands a greater chance of positive results than the current course.
The American people have made it clear, time and again, that a balanced plan is what is needed.
The real impact of the looming spending cuts is in dispute. What’s not is that these cuts are unnecessary. A straightforward combination of revenue increases and spending cuts in areas such as entitlements that will truly help reduce the deficit is required.
Our message to Congress and the White House is simple: Get on with it.
You can say that again
“I’ll raise revenue. Will you reform entitlements? And both together, we’ll set aside sequestration in a way that won’t disrupt the economy and hurt the Defense Department.”
— Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.