Just when I think that our politicians can't act any more irresponsibly, they up the ante. And this one is a doozie. Republican House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that he is "not confident at all" that a deal can be reached to deal with the so-called fiscal cliff -- a congressionally-concocted scheme consisting of a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that hit at the beginning of next year. Most experts agree that driving us off the "fiscal cliff" will send us back into a recession.
Now, I may be in the minority here, but I don't believe in this fiscal cliff thing -- in fact, I'd like to scrap the term altogether. The politicians want us to believe that it's a self-imposed device to scare them into fixing the budget problems. I think it's a political weapon designed to scare the rest of us and distract our attention away from the irresponsible behavior of our politicians, who don't have a clue on how to get our nation's fiscal house in order.
Personally, I think Boehner got an advanced copy of Bob Woodward's new book, The Price of Politics, about the last showdown between him and President Obama, and he's feeling all tough right now.
But if Boehner is serious in what he said, let's translate his words: He is willing to put politics ahead of the economic security of the citizens he supposedly represents so he can increase his own power. He is willing to sacrifice, at least in the short-term, progress for political gain. He believes that throwing the nation into another recession will throw the House, the Senate and the White House to the Republicans. And he's more than willing to take that gamble.
If that's what he's up to, we need to stop using the term fiscal cliff and start considering terms like fiscal blackmail.