Fiscal Cliff Days Away, Plan B Denied and No Resolution in Sight

As House Speaker John A. Boehner put forth a proposal to end fiscal cliff worries, Democrats rejected the plan out of hand, but now even Republicans don’t support the plan. Boehner told the press, “The house did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass.”

The Republicans’ “Plan B” proposal included tax hikes for millionaires and kept current tax rates for everyone else. White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “The President’s main priority is to ensure that taxes don’t go up on 98% of Americans and 97% of small businesses in just a few short days,” and Obama will push for an agreement that accomplishes this.

Commenting on the ongoing back and forth, and now an extremely confusing turn of events, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “These are gyrations that I’ve never seen before.” The Republican majority turning down its own party’s proposal just baffles Democrats and everyone else.

The Senate wont’ even be back in session until December 27th, which only leaves four days before the fiscal cliff becomes a certainty. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said house leadership won’t send members home now that Plan B was shot down. He asserted his determination to get things done before the year-end deadline, saying, “We want to avoid the fiscal cliff from happening.”

Where does the latest fiasco leave Americans on the issue of taxes? The only thing that is certain about changes in the tax law is uncertainty. It seems inconceivable that our politicians can’t even get agreement within their own party on a plan to get all this posturing behind them and just get on with their work, which should be focused on serving their constituents.

Republicans and Democrats alike seem hyper-focused on the minute details of proposals being sent back and forth. Meanwhile, no appreciable progress has been made in negotiations and there is a daily barrage of statements in the press making it clear that there is more posturing going on than negotiating. Even the daily video updates on newscasts seem to be reruns of prior footage because it is the same proverbial movie being replayed every day. One side floats a proposal, the other side rejects it. A counter proposal is offered, and rejected.

If Democrats and Republicans can’t come together to find a middle ground on all the issues that are wrapped up in what will soon plunge Americans over the fiscal cliff, there is a very high likelihood that approval ratings for those involved will drop just like American’s fate, off a cliff.

President Obama continues to speak optimistically about reaching a compromise, while Speaker Boehner ‘s tone is somewhat less cordial and seems a bit more hard line. Only time will tell if the senior leaders of our country can iron out an agreement, but time is a commodity that is running very short.

Even if politicians are driven only by political self-interest, it makes sense to avert the fiscal cliff. It’s certain they can’t stand losing approval ratings if they want to win re-election, when the time comes. Maybe the only thing that will drive compromise is that very same self-interest, that ironically could also serve Americans’ interests.