The fiscal cliff will be here in less than a month, and yet a deal has not been reached by President Obama and the Republicans in Congress to prevent us from going over.
The fiscal cliff is a daunting term used to describe the tax cuts, tax breaks and spending cuts that are set to expire on Jan. 1, 2013.
If the president and Congress do not take action, going over the fiscal cliff could slide us further back into a recession and increase taxes for all individuals, according to most economists.
The main issue, however, is what our leaders are going to do to prevent this from happening. A hot issue being debated is whether or not to extend some of the Bush-era tax cuts.
President Obama wants to extend the tax cuts for those families making less than $250,000, and raise taxes for those making more, while the Republicans in Congress want to reduce spending.
Congress is asking the president to consider entitlement reform instead of tax revenue in order to rebuild our economy.
This entitlement reform would include reforming programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Junior political science major Nick Lopez thinks compromise needs to be made in order to move forward.
“Each party is only worried about their own personal platforms and how their’s is better than the other party,” said Lopez. “At the end of the day a politician is still a politician. They’d sell their own mother if it got them a vote.”
While compromise needs to be made, it is also important that each side holds on to the issues they find important.
“Everybody on both sides needs to suck it up and compromise,” said junior Christa Price.
While some believe the president needs to be less adamant about his stance, Price thinks he is doing the right thing.
“He needs to stand firm on what he believes is right, because he will do more damage going back and forth,” said Price.
Some congressional Republicans, like Tom Cole (R-Okla.), will agree to President Obama’s plan to raise taxes if he considers entitlement reform.
However, more Republicans need to agree before a compromise can be made. Republicans, who are inherently against tax increases, feel that they will be turning on their own party by agreeing to the increase.
As of Friday, the idea of raising the rate for wealthy Americans to only 37 percent, instead of 39.6, percent was brought to Speaker of the House John Boehner’s attention.
“There are a lot of things that are possible to put the revenue the president seeks on the table,” said Boehner.
Reducing the rate to 37 percent while still encouraging Obama to consider entitlement reform could be a considerable compromise.
While Republicans are still opposed to raising taxes, this reduces the blow. It would be a feasible way for both parties to win.
Freshman Sean Simpson believes that even with all this talk, not much is getting done.
“Neither the Democrats or Republicans are willing to come to a compromise on a proper way to fix the fiscal cliff, so there has been little to no progress being made,” said Simpson.
Even Boehner is still saying there is “no progress to report.” It seems as if ideas have been on the table and talks have been happening, but we are getting nowhere.
Communication professor Ryan Medders thinks it will be hard to know if and when they will come to a decision.
“I also don’t know whether a compromise is possible at present as we’re still 24 days away from the deadline and a lot can happen in 24 days,” said Medders in an email.
Both sides are remaining firm on the issue and have refused to accept any offers.
But, if some Republicans are willing to sacrifice their ideas on taxes in order to reform entitlement programs, the president needs to be willing to make a similar sacrifice as well.
It’s unlikely either side will be perfectly happy with the decision as it requires a lot of sacrifice, but as long as everyone is somewhat content, we must start the process of moving forward.
Published Dec. 12, 2012