The fiscal cliff...
It's startling to consider that we've reached a point when half of Congress is unwilling to raise taxes on the upper brackets while the country is in the midst of a historical low in tax rates coupled with high inflation (the plummeting value of the dollar), monopolization of the market, stagnant wages (which are actually falling due to inflation), a historically high debt of 16 trillion dollars and a deficit in the ballpark of 1 trillion per annum. We're hemorrhaging money (which would be less of a problem if we weren't borrowing most of it from the banks).
Meanwhile, the rest of the world is biding its time, waiting to see who's in charge here - the people's democracy or a handful of wealthy men - and The President has to fight tooth and nail for the equivalent of a hand job from The Republicans (a measly 4 percentage points of a tax increase, which would raise taxes to only 39 percent for the ten percent of the population that has managed to acquire 90 percent of the money in this country) despite the fact that taxes on the rich were 70 percent or higher from the mid 30's until the late 70's. How the Hell is a 4 percent increase in taxes supposed to pay for 16 trillion dollars in debt and a loss of 1 trillion dollars per year?
So, instead, our "elected representatives" are going to draft some sort of "grand bargain" that will include concessions to The Republicans, who want immediate cuts to programs like Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, Section 8 and the food stamp program. How the Hell are shanty towns full of sick and hungry people and a decaying infrastructure supposed to help the economy? The only thing we could possibly roll back is Medicaid, and that's only after The Affordable Care Act goes into effect for the majority of Americans. Regardless, there will still be millions of unemployed who have no access to healthcare without Medicaid, so we can't allow it to fold entirely and - certainly - not immediately.
Also, don't be surprised if Democrats and Republicans forget to extend the payroll tax credit and AMT patch. That would put an extra burden on the middle class and if they did that, I wouldn't be surprised to see the working poor rioting in the streets. If they did that, I may have to acquire a Floyd Card and buy myself a Smith & Wesson.
If our representatives are trying to avoid a downgrade of The U.S. credit rating, they're doing an unimaginably shitty job. In the best case scenario, they'll be able to cut the poor out of the equation, pick em up in the paddy wagon and put them in the gainful employ of our growing penal system. (What's sad is that a lot of people - people who suffer from a sort of moral cancer - would applaud such an outcome.) In the worst case scenario, there will be a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating and another market crash.
What we should be debating is whether taxes on the rich should rise to sixty or seventy percent.