Congress: Please fix the real problems
The fiscal "showdown" has everyone panicked. But we're about to throw the baby out with the bathwater for need of a little context.
Our national deficit is a problem; no one can argue differently. So why not discuss the real causes of the deficit? The real causes are high unemployment, rising household debt and stagnant wages. Together these are widening the wealth gap by shrinking the middle class. Without good jobs. American families no longer have the buying power to contribute to a healthy economy.
We have a choice. Address the real problems with aggressive job creation and investments in our people to restore strong economic growth and healthy tax revenues and ease the need for government assistance. Or, cut budgets for education, jobs and poverty alleviation programs and feed the problems that landed us here in the first place.
The first option provides a path out of economic crisis by building on what has always made us strong; good jobs and the industry of our people. We've already watched the second option fail in the austerity and national debt trap of struggling European countries.Congress should fix the real problems, not feed them.
Fiscal cliff deal could worsen national debt
In all the hype surrounding the "fiscal cliff" and "grand bargain," there is an important element the media are missing: The national debt is a symptom, not a sickness.
Our national debt is a symptom of high unemployment, underemployment, jobs with no pay increases and a middle class in decline. Budget cuts on the backs of working people will only worsen the problem. Reducing jobs, pay and the spending power of working people is not an economic solution, and will only lead to a longer-term debt problem.
If Congress and the president are serious about tackling the debt, we must implement economic policies that expand the middle class. We need to invest in our declining infrastructure and give the middle class the security it had when the economy was at its strongest. This includes workplace protections and ensuring Wall Street cannot gamble or cheat families out of their retirements and homes.
The economic status quo of tax cuts for the rich and corporations does nothing for the economy and adds to our debt. Don't be distracted by the hype around the "fiscal cliff" negotiations; the real problem is that we don't have an economy that works for us.