December 12, 2012
A few nights ago, I watched one of my favorite Christmas classics, the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, with my family. Maybe I was lulled by the voice of Boris Karloff, but as the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes, and he tried to save the toy-filled sleigh from going over the edge of the mountain, I forgot about Whoville and imagined the United States tipping over the so-called fiscal cliff. (Clearly, I needed more hot chocolate.)
While I won’t cast either side as the guy in green, it’s difficult not to become frustrated with both sides of this debate, particularly as President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) continue to tweet their positions rather sit down and negotiate a compromise between their respective goals of preserving tax cuts and reforming entitlement programs.
Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) is trying to use social media to gain leverage in the court of public opinion, but his tweets about slow-walks and failures to outline spending cuts haven’t touched the impact of the Obama’s (@WhiteHouse) #My2K program, which solicits stories about how people would be impacted by an additional $2,000 in taxes, if a compromise is not reached.
An article in Business Insider notes that Republicans are taking a major hit over their stance on this issue. And, a Washington Post/ABC poll shows that, while 49 percent of respondents approve of Obama’s handling of the situation (compared to 42 percent who disapprove), only 25 percent approve of Boehner’s role (compared to 49 percent who disapprove).
Both sides are likely to hold out as long as they can so they can go back to their constituents saying they did their best. In the interests of all, each needs to yield on issues that will not be popular with their core supporters. Boehner will likely have to bend on additional tax breaks for households making more than $250,000 per year. Obama will likely have to reduce costs of some entitlement programs. Rather than leaving the American public tipping over the side of the cliff, they both need to pull the sleigh to safety and allow everyone to enjoy a happy, stress-free holiday.