Froma Harrop: Nation approaches the fiscal cliff

The tea party now has its own news site. Based at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, the Tea Party News Network describes itself as "the only trusted news source." It focuses on such right-wing heroes as Michele Bachmann and Allen West, who just lost an election for a House seat in South Florida — though perhaps not on TPNN.

That the patriots have rejected the Republican establishment as governance sympathizers is no longer a concern of the Republican establishment. Many GOP leaders blame tea party antics for their recent electoral defeats.

Now they must deal with the "fiscal cliff" and are going to need all the reality-based supporters they can get. Better to have the patriots saying remarkable things far from the Fox News studios in New York and Washington.

The tea party is one reason we're at the fiscal cliff — a kind of witching hour on Jan. 1. It is when the Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire, along with a payroll tax cut included in the 2009 stimulus bill. It is kick-off time for $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts over 10 years. Taking that much money out of the economy so quickly could send America back into recession.

The spending cuts are a hangover from the debt-ceiling fiasco of a year ago. Recall from that time of national insanity the patriots threatening to send the United States into default on its debt. Recall their stopping so-called Republican leaders from making a deal that included any new tax revenues. Recall grownups from both parties — terrified of economic disaster in the event of a default — agreeing on the above radical spending cuts should a better plan not arrive in time.

The Republican Party took the rap for the debt ceiling and is under suspicion for the fiscal cliff. A new Washington Post-Pew Research poll has 53 percent of Americans ready to blame Republicans if America actually goes over the edge and only 29 percent planning to point fingers at President Obama.

Understanding this, thoughtful Republicans are feeling freer to risk the tea partiers' wrath and cooperate with Democrats. The teams may disagree on much, but at least they're now playing in the same ballpark.

Obama wants the Bush cuts to expire only for the wealthy. Republicans want to extend them for everyone but eliminate some deductions and close a bunch of loopholes. They also talk of limiting the amount of deductions the rich can take. All solid ideas, though it appears that ending tax breaks alone will not raise enough revenues.

Put another way, the middle class would have to pay more in taxes to make the numbers work. Americans in the comfortable middle may eventually have to pitch in, but since the richest Americans benefited most mightily from the Bush tax cuts, they should go first.

On spending, Republicans are agonizing over the automatic $600 billion cut in military spending. During the campaign, they wanted additional defense spending. Now they should settle for less. More Americans are asking why they spend as much on defense as the next 10 countries put together.

Deficit hawks must also look at entitlements. (The exception would be Social Security, an earned benefit.) The Affordable Care Act makes a start on slowing the rising costs of Medicare, and the Obama administration has long indicated a willingness to go further.

All this potential cooperation won't play very well at TPNN headquarters. No matter. The patriots can't do much harm anymore. What they think in Vegas can stay in Vegas. Anyhow, they have their hands full finding mystery votes in Florida for Allen West.

Froma Harrop is a syndicated columnist.

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There is no fiscal cliff ...Instead, its a fiscal boon we face

I don't think we should drink the tea-party kool aid regarding the "fiscal cliff" scenario just yet.

Listening to the one percenters and their lapdog advocates in Washington, all we're going to hear is the last gasps of a failed agenda of enriching themselves and their welfare addicts (i.e. the military industrial complex President Eisenhower warned all of us about) spitting out words like "fiscal cliff".

The truth is we are facing, with the American voter's selection of President Obama's policies, an incredibly unprecedented fiscal boon ... something to be thankful for ... a wonderful benefit for our people and the people of the world.

Yes. It is a fiscal cliff for the banksters, the corporate, military industrial complex welfare bums. Their fiscal forecast is, indeed, changed and their, heretofore, unlimited profits are headed for a cliff of gigantic proportions ... the path of no return.

What is about to happen is an investment of the likes of FDR and JFK in human equality, education, health and welfare, and the resultant healing and progress that comes and has, for far too long, been much overdue.... likes the jobs bill the Republicans have been holding hostage ... for the sole purpose of hurting average Americans in order to provoke them to blame an innocent black president ....and...


Now, these same tea-baggers and their Republican handlers (i.e. McCain, Graham, McConnell and Bohner ... Rush and O'lie-all-the-time Bill the filawfull guy) have begun to realize that they can't get anywhere publicaly whipping the black guy we've overwhelmingly re-elected as our President of these United States.

The fact of the matter is we don't care that he may even be a Kenyan, and Indoneisan or a commie .... he was the best choic in 2008 and he was, again, the best choice in 2012.... and thank god he offered his candidacy.

I thinkk it puts to bed the notion that we actually need or require a "natural born" American citizen as our President.

Maybe we should nominate Merkel, the German President next, even.

It's truely up to the People, who have now voted .... twice ... to affirm Barack Hussein Obama as our President ..... a man who is, apparently, destined to join four other Presidents depicted on our Mount Rushmore.

Perhaps, once his engraving there has been completed in the not too distant future, that would be an excellent cliff, metaphorically speaking, to begin shoving the remainder of the Keating Five over, along with their tea-bagger handlers.

Just another "I love my country" thought.


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