12/31/12 — Danger in deal: Avoiding cliff has its merits, but more arguing looms.

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Danger in deal: Avoiding cliff has its merits, but more arguing looms.

The United States government does not have a tax problem. It has a spending problem.

This is likely not the first time you have heard that phrase -- and it will not be the last, especially since a last-minute mini-deal seems likely in the looming fiscal cliff debate.

Why won't this last-minute agreement fix the problem, you might ask?

Well, frankly, the real questions that plague the U.S. government and the federal budget still remain -- we are spending too much and there seems to be no sign of anyone making the hard decisions necessary to put on the brakes.

So, while Congress argues about a tiny percentage of tax increases that will do nothing to stem the debt level and could potentially slow job growth, the can gets kicked down the road for more substantial talks about what needs to be done next to stop spending more than we are taking in.

Sounds like a problem most families have to deal with every day, doesn't it?

It seems hard to believe that the discussion of taxes and spending has been going on for more than a year. And by the way, we are about to approach another debt limit deadline.

Remember how we were going to extend the debt limit and then deal with the problem? Well, so much for that plan. We are right back where we started and further in debt.

And so in lies the danger of compromises, what happens when you just put a Band-Aid on a much-bigger problem.

So while we should heave a sigh of relief that the fiscal cliff just might be thwarted for now, we should also demand that the real concern gets addressed -- sooner rather than later.

Published in Editorials on December 31, 2012 1:29 PM