Solutions for U.S. fiscal cliff are as clear as river water

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 9, 2012

On the same morning on the same television network, arguments from one side of the political aisle as to how to fix the country’s financial mess was followed by musings from the other side.

The competing visions were laid out as clearly as a 40-gallon jug of Mississippi River water.

Remember, the country is more than $16 trillion in debt and routinely spends $1.1 trillion more than it takes in. The nation’s unfunded liabilities — what our leaders have promised to pay — is more than $122 trillion.

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Using incomprehensible math and high-falutent verbiage, here are the conclusions from side A.

• Interviewer: You want a balanced approach to $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $80 billion is new stimulus funds and no guarantee of cuts. Is that balanced?

Treasury secretary: “What they left out was $600 billion in detailed cuts to health care programs. That’s $600 million.” Million or billion? And even if it is billion, that would equate to 0.0055 reduction the debt.

“These cuts and reductions were laid out in the president’s budget.”

Interviewer: “But that budget was voted down 99-0.”

Spokesman: “Well, there are a lot of politics in this town.”

We cannot get the Senate to agree on when to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but when everyone with a pulse votes no its politics as usual?

• Secretary: “We’ve proposed very substantial spending reforms alongside what we did last year, which was a trillion dollars in savings to get us more fiscally balanced.” Wonderful. Now we are at $1.6 trillion in savings, more than what we need to get a balanced deficit. So what is the problem?

• “We have detailed spending-savings and taxes we need to show the American people we are fiscally responsible.” (That was the sixth mention of spending-savings, meaning they are spending our savings.) “To get us down to the point where we stabilize our debt.”

You have us $16 trillion in debt and you talk about getting it to a sustainable level by trumpeting a savings rate of .0055 percent? Are you drunk?

Certainly those on the other side of the aisle have a better solution. If there really is another side. Sounds like a game of three-card monte with our money, fancy talk and illegitimate statistics to pull to biggest wool scarf over the eyes of a population stupid enough to keep putting them in power.

But I shan’t be jaded.

Sean P. Murphy can be reached at