Heading for the (Fiscal) Cliff

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather – not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car as he drove off the cliff…

On Monday, Gallup released their monthly approval ratings for Congress and reported that “Eighteen percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, down slightly from 21% shortly before the election.”

Of course, a majority of people believe their elected officials in their state are not the problem – it’s the guy or gal representing another state who are the dirty rotten scoundrels. 

A “glass half-full” observation is at least their approval rating is not around 10% like they received in August 2012, and a “glass half-empty” observation is if they don’t stop the Federal Government from going off the fiscal cliff, the 18% approval may never be seen again.

To prevent the drive off the fiscal cliff in 34 days, everything must be on the table including tax increases. It’s like we’ve been having a party for several years and now we have to pay the damages. We’re hearing people say, “Everything must be on the table” and let’s hope they mean it.

So far in Congress we’re seeing positioning. A few Republicans have indicated that they may be inclined to break the no tax increase pledge they made with Grover Norquist. That’s a good start although Norquist told CNN that people thinking that are having “impure thoughts.”

Republican elected officials like Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and New York Congressman Peter King saying they are even willing to look at raising taxes is like someone coming forward in a recovery program and saying, “I have a problem.” It’s a start.

There are 258 members who signed Norquist’s no tax increase pledge for the next (113th) Congress, including Montana’s At-Large Representative-elect Steve Daines. Daines takes office January 3, and may have the can kicked down the road for him and the new Congress to try and get under control. It would be good for Daines to follow the lead of Chambliss, Graham, and King, and give everything a fair look and put the country above his political party and, ultimately, above Grover Norquist.

The fiscal cliff is just 34 days away. Christmas is just 28 days away. To the elected officials and staffers in D.C., I hear Washington is beautiful during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays…

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