Now that the election’s over, we have winners and losers. Change is in the air.
In Washington, however, on old issue is more pressing than anything the next Congress will encounter. Our current senators and representatives have to resolve the so-called “fiscal cliff” by the end of the year. Failure isn’t an option.
They must come together during a lame-duck session, which starts Tuesday, to stop the scheduled tax increases and spending cuts. If they don’t, an estimated $500 billion will be taken out of economy, which experts say with certainty will trigger another recession.
Unless our lawmakers and president find a way to work together, there will be real consequences for all of us.
These facts should be enough to scare the leaders in our Republican House and Democratic Senate into a quick deal:
— A National Association of Manufacturers report estimates that if the fiscal cliff isn’t avoided, six million jobs will be lost, unemployment will top 11 percent and household income will drop 10 percent.
— The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts 9 percent unemployment and that economic growth will decline in the first half of the year.
— Americans will have to pay $400 billion more in taxes, thanks to the expiration of cuts put in place during the George W. Bush presidency.
— There will be more uncertainty on the stock market because investors are weary about the type of deal Congress will strike. The shaky behavior the stock market displayed Wednesday will only worsen.
On the day after the election, it was encouraging to hear House Speaker John Boehner say, “Let’s challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us.” We hope other politicians — both Democrats and Republicans — keep that spirit of cooperation in mind.
With the stability of the economy on the line, our lawmakers know they have to do the right thing. They know the time for political gamesmanship is over.
– The Post-Crescent, Appleton.