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Government watchdog warns of inaction on fiscal cliff

Other opinion

POSTED: September 5, 2012 12:00 p.m.

Recently, a nonpartisan government watchdog issued a report warning of the serious consequences if the nation plunges over the “fiscal cliff.”

According to the Congressional Budget Office, unemployment would skyrocket to 9.1 percent and remain above 8 percent through 2014 as a result of the arbitrary spending cuts known as sequester and the massive tax hike set to take effect at the beginning of next year.

The CBO report said the economy is weaker than previously reported and that it would take little to send the United States back into a recession. If the country were to go over the fiscal cliff, the economy would contract.

Beyond the dire economic consequences, replacing the defense sequester is necessary to prevent harmful cuts to our nation’s military. The cuts would “hollow out” our defense according to the president’s own Secretary of Defense.

Preventing the massive tax hike would provide certainty to middle class families and small businesses and could encourage more economic growth today. Without action, Ernst & Young predicted the tax hike could destroy 700,000 jobs.

In the House, we passed bipartisan legislation to stop the tax hike and replace the defense sequester with common-sense spending reductions and reforms, thereby maintaining the long-term budget savings without harming our nation’s defense.

We did so with assurances that the president and Democratic leadership in the Senate would work with the House to avert the fiscal cliff by enacting a deficit reduction package built on pro-growth tax reform and much-needed changes to strengthen entitlement programs.

Unfortunately, the president and Senate Democrats are not making good on their commitment. In fact, they are doing the opposite.
It is deplorable.

Where is the president in all this? He is sitting back, posturing politically and calling on Congress to act without offering a plan of his own. That is not what I call leadership.

If the president was serious about averting this threat, he would call on Senate Leader Harry Reid to bring the Senate back in session to address this issue, or he would work with House Republicans on reaching agreement.

As the CBO report confirms, the stakes could not be higher.

 

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