Any of the fiscal strategies will not be pleasant
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Your letters imply that many are confused and frightened by our fiscal cliff and its resolution. But the situation is, if very unpleasant, still fairly straightforward.
We are living beyond our means. There are four ways to fix that.
1) Spend less. (Largely, Tea Party Republicans' favored strategy.)
2) Charge it on our national credit card. (Largely, the establishment Democrats' favored approach.)
3) Spend down any savings we might have. (The more populist Democrats' tax-the-rich "Plan B.")
4) Increase our income so we can afford more. (The establishment Republicans' "Plan B" growth strategy.)
But growth requires investment in our economy, which requires the availability of savings that can be invested and some payoff to savers to get them to invest. So the two "Plan B's" are at loggerheads with one another.
Last November, the majority of us voted for the Democrats. So it's largely their strategies that we're going to get. (Elections have consequences.)
That probably buys a better present at the expense of a more impoverished future. Not a bad deal if you're elderly and will die before the bills come due but rough on young people who can't find a job in a slow-growth economy and who'll be press-ganged to pay off those debts.
Curiously, CNN says those under 45 favored President Barack Obama in the last election, while those over 45 favored Mitt Romney. Maybe we're a less selfish people than the critics would have us believe. Or maybe we just can't figure out which side our bread's buttered on.
First Published January 1, 2013 12:00 am