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Opinion: What's With Obama's Fiscal Cliff Road Trip?

The Right Politics

All the effort with President Barack Obama flying around and trying to convince the public to push for his version of avoiding the "fiscal cliff" seems awfully strange. But yet, he's using this past-failed method of trying to get his way (as opposed to the highway) to pass in Washington, D.C. The definitive words here are "in Washington, D.C." That's where the action is on this matter.

After all, how many Americans really follow the news or care about all the aspects of the "fiscal cliff?" Likely, most of Obama's supporters just expect the government to take care of everything by avoiding "going over the fiscal cliff" so that their taxes will not increase – or, for those that are unemployed, so their unemployment keep coming in every month on time.

It seems the president would do much better by staying in Washington, D.C. where the action is rather than taking a road tour-styled trip to talk to the American people. In Washington, D.C., he actually would be talking to the people who are going to make the decision with him. What if all the politicians did what Obama is doing? Nobody would be in Washington, D.C. They'd all be headed home to the area of the country they represent and talk to anyone who will listen regarding the "fiscal cliff".

No, don't go home and plead your case. Stay in Washington, D.C. where your influential opinion matters. Washington, D.C. would be a ghost town of sorts rather than the hub of governmental activity it is when everybody is there doing their job – as they should be doing. Yes, lawmakers need to get the opinions of the people they represent, but we've all heard of telephones, email and snail mail.

Additionally, all the talk on Obama's campaign trail is focused on one – maybe two – of the "fiscal cliff" activities which he believes is a "hot button" for getting people involved. But besides, Obama's "hot button" issues discussed on-the-road, there are several other areas of discussion that are involved with the negotiations – not simply the extended tax break for middle class Americans who earn a pay check. The Obama-driven hype seems to focus on the extended tax cuts via the hashtag #My2K and little else. But, the details that are keeping the compromise from being compromised by Obama and the Republicans are scarcely mentioned.

Besides the highly-touted tax cuts which everyone would like to see extended, there's the disagreement on what will be cut from the budget to pay for the continued tax cuts. This portion of the current debate in Washington, D.C. is known as the sequestration (sequester) – what programs to cut or not cut from the nation's budget. For those who read up on the issue of the current sequester issue, it's apparent that the divisiveness between the president and Congress is primarily – but definitely not exclusively - the military spending, which was because an issue during the presidential debates between Obama and Mitt Romney. Obama and his Democrats want to cut the military spending while the Republicans logically say: "But wait, we're still at war in the Middle East."

There's also the issue of the tax breaks such as capital gains taxes going back up one=third to 20 percent from 15 percent, child tax credit being cut in half from the current $1,000, and the estate tax increasing more than one-third, as well as various tax deductions. Of course, the unemployment benefits which rose to 99 weeks are to be cut drastically without a resolution in Washington, D.C. And again, there is the tax issue regarding the taxing of the wealthy in which Democrats want the rich American's money and Republicans want them to have more of their own money to restart the economy by allowing the wealthy to spend their money.

It's like President Obama is a masochist at times. He enters the "political ring" knowing he's going to get punched in the face by the Republicans if he suggests any spending without a logical method of paying for it – yet he has allegedly entered the ring again without a logical plan to pay for it. He still refuses to accept that there are people in this world who are fiscally responsible enough – thank God – to want to know how something is going to be paid for before it is administered.

Oh, wait a minute. That explains why Obama is fighting his version of the "fiscal cliff" debate on-the-road out of Washington, D.C. instead of in the "political ring" –- in Washington, D.C.

About Scott Paulson

Scott Paulson writes political commentary for and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.


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