Well, now that that’s over, it’s time to get to work. The Concord Coalition’s executive director, Bob Bixby, explains it this way in a Concord blog post:
If the country is on an unsustainable fiscal path, which it is, and if continued partisan bickering will not solve this problem, which it won’t, and if divided government has been re-elected, which it has, then the only choices are calamity or compromise.
The Concord Coalition urges compromise.
That must begin immediately as the two parties negotiate a responsible alternative to the “fiscal cliff” – a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that will hit with such suddenness that it could throw the still-fragile economy back into recession.
But they can’t just kick the can down the road — again. The year-end fiscal cliff is bad, but eventually we will need the longer-term deficit reduction produced by the policies comprising the fiscal cliff. It just needs to be phased-in in a more rational way as proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin recommendations…
Solutions will be impossible if both parties retreat to their partisan corners and stubbornly insist that compromise is only something for the other side to do and that any calamity is only the other side’s fault.
It’s long past time to stop such unrealistic nonsense.
There must be spending cuts, including reform of our major entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And there must be tax reform that broadens the base, maintains progressivity and increases revenues. And all of this must be, and indeed can be, done in a way that enhances economic growth.
Neither side has a monopoly on wisdom for how this should be accomplished, and neither side has a mandate, or the votes, to ram through its own purist agenda…
So the message to policymakers is this: Do your job.
And yesterday (on Election Day) the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted this video conversation I had with editor David Hayes during my visit to Wisconsin last month. It’s another talk about dealing with the fiscal cliff and the longer-term fiscal outlook and how we need the public to get more engaged and vocal about it.