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What’s wrong with politicians

November 16, 2012
The Journal

You want to know what is wrong with politicians? The clearest example we can think of is contained in news reports from earlier this week.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., told ABC's "This Week" that Democratic leaders should seriously consider letting the country drive over the Fiscal Cliff on Jan. 1 if Republicans refuse to budge on the issue of raising taxes on the wealthy. Polls show most people would blame Republicans, and it would strengthen the Democrats' bargaining position.

When politicians think primarily of improving their bargaining position instead of improving the country, we're in trouble.

Democratic leaders are giving the idea the cold shoulder. President Obama has expressed his willingness to work with Republicans to resolve the situation before Jan. 1, though he will not back down on the issue of ending the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to her credit, told reporters, "I want you to be disabused of any notion that there is any widespread thought that it would be a good thing, for our country, for us to go over the cliff."

Economists and the Congressional Budget Office alike agree that the tax increases and automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to take place on Jan. 1 would be detrimental to the country's economy, sending us back into a recession. While the economic impact wouldn't hit immediately at the beginning of the year, the fact that the U.S. government could not come to an agreement to avert this crisis would shake the confidence of investors and allies alike.

There has to be a better way to make decisions for the good of the nation than the kind of brinksmanship some politicians are willing to employ. Politicians need to find ways to work together, rather than find ways to bend their opponents to their will. It's not winning if the country as a whole loses.



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