Would it really be so much to ask that President Barack Obama and congressional leaders drop the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” act? Couldn’t they just forget the posturing and get to work on a deficit reduction package that includes fixes to everything else looming at the edge of the “fiscal cliff”?
Alas, it probably is too much to ask. The problems are enormous and have been allowed to fester for decades. The election left a divided White House and Congress in status quo-ante. Lobbyists are lined up from K Street to the Capitol, each one representing interests that insist on being left whole, or better. To mix a couple of metaphors, there are too many fingers in the pie and too many oxen that stand to be gored.
That all of this could be allowed to drag on through the holidays, with the same kind of sniping that characterized the last two years, simply would be reprehensible. Sooner or later, everyone will have to accept some variation of 2010’s Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan. It should be sooner….
The precise mix of tax cuts, spending cuts and loophole-closings is subject to negotiation, and that’s what should be taking place right now. Put Simpson-Bowles on the table, invite key leaders into the room, lock the doors and don’t let anyone out until it’s done. Spare us the drama.
— Distributed by The Associated Press