Who’s Happy With The Fiscal Cliff Deal?

Posted by & filed under An Independent Viewpoint, Bipartisanship, Controlled by Parties, National Debt, The IVA Angle, Why Be Independent?

sheep cliff

Image: Sodahead.com

As the adage goes, “If nobody’s happy with the results, it must be a good deal…

Not in the case of the cliff. Neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to be very happy with the deal that was reached on Tuesday. In short: see everyone’s stale ideas, bad arguments, and partisan rancor back here in March for the next round of debt ceiling negotiations! Same time, same place, same President, [mostly] same Congress!

There’s [predictably] a whole lot that’s been written, sniped, press conferenced, and shouted far and wide beyond Washington D.C. about the 2012 2013 Fiscal Cliff compromise, but we’ve come across nothing as succinct and constructively critical as David Rothkopf’s CNN op-ed piece entitled “Cliff deal hollow victory for American people.”

We couldn’t have addressed independent voters and thinkers any better than Rothkopf, CEO and editor-at-large of Foreign Policy magazine, when he opined:

“The last political drama of 2012 and the first one of 2013 suggest that if you love America, you might want to consider making your New Year’s resolution quitting whatever political party you belong to…

Rothkopf later remarked [with dripping sarcasm]:

“Other than its lack of vision, creativity, accountability, sense of responsibility, courage, basic math skills, wisdom or competence, this (fiscal) cliff deal is not bad.”

Indeed. We agree Mr. Rothkopf! The whole column is well worth a full read, spelling out exactly what’s wrong with the fiscal cliff deal, and what we as a country can do about it (in addition to switching our own party affiliations to independent, none of the above, or no party preference):

How do we get out of this mess? The only solution is to recognize that everything in our system that institutionalizes and deepens our partisan divides and makes the compromises and collaboration that are the essence of democracy impossible must be seen as an obstacle to the greater good… It is time to realize that gerrymandering, campaign finance practices and the embrace of extra-constitutional traditions like filibuster rules deepen the divides that have made Washington dysfunctional. The two-party system is a boon for America when it is seen as providing a voice for two parts of a unified whole. But today’s Washington is a zero-sum world of ideologues, men and women who have lost sight of who and what they are working for… It may be that only a real massive movement away from the existing parties and the corrupt system they have created can break the destructive cycle in which Washington — and the American people — are trapped.

What’s your reaction to the Fiscal Cliff compromise as an independent voter? It certainly wasn’t the “grand bargain” that President Obama had hoped for, but should this “bipartisan” [emphasis on quotes] deal deserve to be universally panned by pundits and politicians on both sides of the aisle, as it has been so far? Will you let this Fiscal Cliff fiasco be the last straw in withdrawing your own party membership? (Hint: it makes for a great New Years’ resolution… nudge… wink!) Let us know your take in the comments.

One Response

  1. Robert B. Winn January 5, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I discovered the solution to these difficulties back when Bill Clinton was President. Mr. Clinton had given a particularly stirring speech about the national debt, but doubting his sincerity, I was somewhat angered by his remarks. Having just received my income tax return, I signed the check and sent it to the President along with a note instructing him to apply it toward payment of the national debt. The next week the check was returned along with a nasty letter from some one in the White House informing me that the President could not accept my donation. “That’s odd,” I thought. “I am sure he would have accepted it if I had said I was donating it to his re-election campaign.” So I sent the check to his rival in the Presidential election, Senator Bob Dole, explaining what had happened and asking that the money be applied toward payment of the national debt. Same result. So I kept sending the check to other members of Congress with the same request. After several tries, a member of the House of Representatives told me he had forwarded my check to the Bureau of the Public Debt and thanked me for my donation.
    Bureau of the Public Debt?
    It was true. About a week later I received a letter from the Bureau of the Public Debt thanking me for my donation and saying that during that year more than three million dollars had been donated for that purpose. Since that time I have donated $40 every year, not because I am charitable, but because I like to show the following comparison to political party members when they try to criticize me for being an independent voter.

    Contributions for payment of the national debt 2008-2012

    Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and all other Democrats plus
    Mitt Romney, the Koch brothers, and all Republicans
    – $6,000,000,000,000.00

    Independent voter Robert B. Winn

    Sometimes showing this to political party members even inspires them to attempt to do some mathematics. Last week I posted my comparison on a political blog called TPM and a party member posted after it, 24 times 40 is not 160. This gave me an opportunity to explain that that if you have four years and donate forty dollars each year, the total will be $160.00. It is not what I would call a breakthrough, but it may be a start. It is not every day that you see a Democratic Party member attempting to do mathematics of that magnitude.
    The Bureau of the Public Debt no longer sends the total amount contributed by Americans in their thank you note. They stopped doing that several years ago, but they do still send the thank you note. Anyway, if you are a political party member, you are not going to do much to offset the amount your political party borrowed. If you are an independent voter, you can go ahead and claim the money you sent was yours. That is the main difference I see between independent voters and party members, unless you are an independent voter who is in favor of borrowing money on national credit. Even then, you can still claim to be registered to vote the correct way.
    Sometimes I think about what would happen if a large number of Americans did what I am doing. It boggles the mind. What would it do to the economy if money went right toward paying interest on the debt instead of being applied to political party organization of faction?
    One thing we can be sure. There would be political party politicians speaking out against it. Well, it is something to think about.


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