Cliffs, ceilings and sequestration

Published Jan. 23, 2013, in The Waterloo Region Record.

The wrangling between Democrats and Republicans over deficits and the U.S. debt has just begun

The imagery of the fiscal cliff was an irresistible metaphor for media outlets covering the political confrontation in Washington in the closing weeks of 2012.

However, the wave of attention focused upon whether America’s economy would dive over the cliff on New Year’s Eve was merely a curtain raiser that has ushered in constant conflict in the new 113th Congress.

As it happened, that issue was addressed a few hours later, but only by kicking the can down the road for a few weeks. Some symbolic matters were dealt with in the New Year’s Day deal, including many Republicans being obliged to restore a higher tax rate for a tiny fraction of the wealthiest U.S. citizens, but in terms of alleviating the budget deficit it amounted to peanuts. The annual savings were approximately equivalent to the amount of revenue allocated to the victims of hurricane Sandy.

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