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Political differences must be settled before fiscal cliff

Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 00:11

As the year comes to an end and the holidays quickly approach, there is a lingering shadow over the cheer and jolly that has reinstated the political banter of election campaigning. The shadow is the upcoming "fiscal cliff” that will follow the ball dropping in Times Square on New Year’s Day.

Unless both sides of the political aisle can agree on a deficit plan to prevent the federal government from going over the metaphorical cliff, the country will face automatic budget cuts to the defense budget and programs such as Medicare and the Federal Pell Grant Program — an important issue for students to pay attention to. These changes are a direct result of the Budget Control Act of 2011 going into effect — the congressional response to the country nearing the debt ceiling and not coming to a compromise on whether to raise it or not — and the expiration of tax cuts passed during George W. Bush’s time in office.

Just as tempers raged in the months leading up to the election, lawmakers continue to prove that bipartisan antics hindering productivity have just as much of a stronghold on the political landscape afterward — even in the face of economic turmoil. 
The primary issue is how the government plans to raise revenue, and definitions of revenue generation differ across the political spectrum. To do this, our lawmakers are faced with a choice. On one side, the tax rates can be raised for those who make more than $250,000, and tax loopholes can be closed to increase revenue, leaving the amount of spending the same. On the other side is the notion that cutting spending on government programs and extending Bush-era tax cuts would be the best solution.

Both of the ideologies make logical sense. The only question is which plan is easier for the U.S. to predict the turnout of after it is implemented. Lawmakers should be working together to find a solution, instead of making “Taxpayer Protection Pledges” to not raise rates, a tactic spearheaded by conservative figure Grover Norquist. This pledge is a childish way for legislators to go about avoiding a compromise.

Regardless, the fate of the country’s economy and the lives of students relies on the ability of Congress and the president to come to a compromise which is literally impossible if the climate of bipartisan arguing continues.

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