Not out of the financial woods yet
After just over a week of discussion, debate, late-night meetings and finger-pointing in the American press, Congress and President Barack Obama have implemented a deal that avoids potential financial catastrophe.
Obama signed a deal that halts tax increases on the middle class, increases taxes on the wealthy and staves off deep spending cuts in federal government.
But, don’t think for one minute that we have heard the last of fiscal issues in Washington.
On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-North Carolina, addressed members of the media via teleconference regarding not just the recent fiscal deal, but what lies ahead.
And, if these last rounds of debate and discussion are any indication, the next few months may be worse.
Congress will be tasked with taking up the spending cuts that were postponed for two months, perhaps sometime in February.
That is just the beginning.
Around that same time, Congressional leaders will start their regular debate over the federal government debt ceiling. Currently, the limit on the amount of money the federal government can borrow is in the neighborhood of $16 trillion.
Republicans are not likely to simply roll over and allow a rise in the debt ceiling without concessions from Obama and Democrats on cutting spending.
And, it is tough to fault Republicans for that request.
It is irresponsible for a consumer to ask for more money on their credit card when they struggle to pay the bill they already have.
Our government is no different.
Now, does that mean that deep, across-the-board cuts are the answer? No. But, there has got to be some trimming of federal government fat to get what pundits call “our fiscal house in order.”
So, the stage is set for more contentious debate, more finger-pointing, more drama played out in the national media and, more stalling.
“I certainly do agree with most in North Carolina for Congress to wait past the 11th hour to come together is not acceptable,” Hagan said. “We teach our children to work together and we should certainly lead by example.”
But, over the course of ... well, quite a while ... we have learned that our children can negotiate better than members of Congress and the White House.
The fact of the matter is that we are not out of the financial crisis woods yet and there are issues just as big as the one we have just faced that are coming up.
Sequestration, the debt ceiling, entitlements and tax reform are coming up to bat and we sincerely hope that Congress and the White House don’t strike out.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark