Spending out of control

Members of Congress who voted for tax increases approved Jan. 1 apparently thought keeping the nation headed down the slippery slope toward economic collapse was an acceptable alternative to enduring the political heat of allowing it to go over the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

Representatives who voted against the measure were right to do so.

Bills approved New Year’s Day by both the Senate and the House of Representatives have been touted widely as a compromise to avoid events that have been described for weeks as a “fiscal cliff.”

In essence, that meant without action by Congress and President Barack Obama, tax breaks approved during former President George W. Bush’s administration would have been rescinded. In addition, automatic federal spending cuts – referred to for some reason as “the sequester” – would have gone into effect.

But the frantic end-of-year rush to kill those two potential changes was needless. Congress could have done both retroactively early this year. As long as it was apparent steady, sure progress was being made to that end, financial markets and individual consumers and investors, along with businesses, would not have felt they had been pushed off a fiscal cliff.

Obama and liberal lawmakers played the late-December panic for all it was worth, however. They managed to get a deal that kept most of the Bush-era tax cuts in effect and eliminated the sequester. But the price they demanded for going along was a $620 billion, 10-year tax increase – and virtually no cuts in government spending. In truth, Obama was able to include some new spending, including more on “green” energy, in the bills.

Again, the package increases taxes, including those on job creators, while expanding, not contracting, the size of government.

That is why some representatives voted against the proposal. Far from being progress in reducing the tax burden on Americans while addressing the staggering $16.4 trillion national debt, the fiscal cliff deal was politics at its absolute worst.

The conservatives in the House lost the battle on New Year’s Day. Good for them, however, in recognizing that unless Washington stops spending so much of our money, we’re all going to lose the war to keep the U.S. economy from collapsing around our ears.