Democrats shouldn't get cocky just because they won the fiscal cliff battle. Now, it's their turn to make some concessions and start offering up genuine plans to cut federal spending. The debate we just finished always had two components and the second was budget reduction, which is where we're at now.
Some Republicans appear willing to let the nation's bond rating fall again, if necessary, to get Democrats attention. Others are willing to let the government shut down to make their point (Newt Gengrich did that when he was speaker and paid for it mightily in political capital once the effects started to really hit the American public). Those plans are a lot like making scrambled eggs with hand grenades. They're a little bit of overkill to do the job and in the end they'd backfire terribly.
No, the GOP needs to start putting forward a series of realistic budget reduction measures. Stress realistic, not those "good for news copy but ultimately bad for the country" proposals some members of the party have come up with. Go back to Simpson-Bowles. There were good ideas there -- reasonable, workable ideas. If the GOP were to start pushing those plans, the Democrats would have to come on board, or start looking as obstructionist as the Republicans have been looking. Pushing Simpson-Bowles would be good for the GOP and good for the country.
Both sides need to quit showboating and trying to strong-arm each other. Let's see some serious, meaningful and realistic discussions on budget reduction. No more lurching from one self-created crisis to the next. If both sides were simply to go line-by-line through the budget to ax the pork and special projects that balloon the bottom line, some real progress would be made.
Unfortunately, that would add up to too many congressmen having to give up pet projects for their districts for the good of the country, which we know isn't likely to happen. Self-interest always seems to triumph over the common good.
But now's the time to try anyway. No more threats. No more "cliffs." Honest, serious discussions.
Please don't tell us a majority of Congress is unable to do that. Ignore the wing-nuts from both parties. It's time to quit playing playground bully games and start doing some real work.
The American people demand it.
-- Kelly Everitt