12/19/12 — Budget truths: No matter what happens with fiscal cliff, reality looms

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Budget truths: No matter what happens with fiscal cliff, reality looms

Watching the ping pong match that has become the discussion over the remedy to avoid the fiscal cliff is nothing short of exhausting.

And listening to the power brokers in Washington, you almost have to wonder if any of them really know what they are fighting about either.

Bottom line is, there will be an agreement. It will include some of the principles from both parties, and it will be full of pronouncements from self-important politicians who think that their stance on the issues of taxes and entitlements put them in the catbird seat politically.

But the hard reality about the fiscal cliff is that even if the hard fall is avoided, there are still serious questions to ponder -- and a whole lot of concerns that are no closer to being solved.

No. 1 on the list is that increasing taxes on the highest-earning Americans might sound good, but it will not make a serious dent in the debt level that is choking this country.

And the same is true for entitlement cuts. There is not enough left to cut to pare down this debt.

And that is the discussion that is about to come up next in Washington -- how much longer can we as a nation continue to support this enormous debt -- and what are we willing to do about it?

It will be very similar to the after-Christmas reality check when we get the bills from all our merriment the week before.

Call it cold water in the face.

So, unfortunately, be prepared for a whole lot more discussion after the new year -- no matter what happens with the fiscal cliff.

It is a reality we cannot ignore much longer.

Published in Editorials on December 19, 2012 10:56 AM