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There is No Fiscal Cliff

Mark A. Goldman                                                                 Dated: 11/16/2012


There is no fiscal cliff.  We already went over the fiscal cliff when we passed the Bush tax cuts in 2001.  At that time ( Feb, 2001) I wrote a commentary entitled “Bush’s Tax Tragedy” in which I said…

“The Bush plan is the greatest rip off that has ever been postulated.  It probably represents the largest single publicly sponsored transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich that was ever purposely devised.”  1

It turns out that I was exactly right.  You can trace the fiscal debacle in 2008 to the passage of his plan--the perfect compliment to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act under Clinton-- which nearly collapsed our entire economic system and, more importantly, has all but ended what we might have previously considered our working democracy.  And now, in order to keep that tax tragedy in place, we are being told that allowing that legislative stupidity to expire will throw us off some imaginary fiscal cliff.  We already fell off and are now crumpled at the bottom of that cliff, bleeding and nursing our bruised and broken bones.

All you have to do is look at the distribution of wealth in this country and you can see we are approaching the end of our republic as our Founders conceived it.   A democratic system of government cannot survive with almost all the growth in national income over many years accruing to the wealthiest one to five percent of the population.  Our first order of business if we are to recover what’s left of our republic is to redistribute the wealth and income of our people.  We need to repeal the Bush tax cuts, restore Glass-Steagall, reform the tax code, take money out of politics, prosecute all the criminals who have committed fraud upon the people of this country--so far without accountability--and put what’s left of our wealth to work for the benefit of all our People and our posterity. 

The Founding Fathers were not a perfect enlightened breed of men.  For example, despite their lofty concern for freedom and democratic rule, even Washington and Jefferson couldn’t see their way to giving up their slaves... and allowing women to participate in electoral politics was never even considered.  But at least they had the courage not only to talk about freedom and democracy but to actually try to build into the framework of their new government the mechanisms by which the People--if we could hold onto our ideals--might expand and refine those values, and for the first time in history actually create a working model of how people might live together in freedom, peace and harmony in a land governed of, by, and for the People.

The Bush tax plan did more to kill and bury those ideals than any piece of economic legislation in our history.  That legislation transferred to the richest 1% of our people all the power they needed to undermine the rights and freedoms of the other 99%.  Our Constitution, for all intents and purposes, has undergone a shredding which has turned our sacred document, with the help of the Obama administration, into what Bush called, “just a goddamned piece of paper.”  The institutions of power and culture in the United States are now so corrupted by what has taken place over the last couple of decades that no one seems to know how we might recapture the sense of civic decency that the Founders once tried to create.  If we don’t return legitimate power to the People, America is on track to becoming a third world country as the Great Experiment--after all the blood that has been spilled and treasure squandered--ends in absolute disgrace and total failure.

Our first task then is to go over this so called fiscal cliff if we have any hope at all to regain our legitimacy as a people.  We need to creatively transfer the unearned wealth that has accrued to the wealthiest Americans and return it to the People who made that wealth possible, and restore some dignity to those who have been denied their rightful place in our society, which includes restoring their legitimate share of our national income. 

But none of this will make any difference if we don’t also restore dignity to the Constitution, take responsibility for the crimes we've committed, have the Senate ratify the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and truly endeavor to live up to what these documents... which is to say, We the People proclaimed and promised to ourselves, our posterity, and to the rest of the world.  If we can't do this, "The Great Experiment" is finished.


 1 Mark A. Goldman, “Bush’s Tax Tragedy”, The Answer
    (The Presidential Press, 2003), Pages  63-66


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