Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles, authors of the bipartisan report on debt reduction, say the fiscal cliff compromise represents a missed opportunity to address the nation's fiscal woes.
"Washington missed this magic moment to do something big to reduce the deficit, reform our tax code and fix our entitlement programs," they said in a joint statement.
Imagine that: Washington is absent on a tough decision.
Republicans and budget-conscious Democrats are quick to say the real showdown is coming in two months when Congress must decide whether to raise the debt ceiling. President Obama has already thrown down the gauntlet, saying he will not negotiate on that issue.
"If Congress refuses to give the United States government the ability to pay these bills on time (read: go farther into debt), the consequences for the entire global economy would be catastrophic - far worse than the impact of the fiscal cliff," the president fumed.
That's not leadership; it's the commander-in-chief misstating the argument and shifting the blame.
The beginning of another year should brim with optimism. We are forward-looking people. We try to focus on the horizon and consider the possibilities.
But what reason is there for confidence?
The temporary exhilaration of the class warriors who want the rich to "pay their fair share" will give way to the reality the rest of us already know:
The country is headed toward fiscal ruin and Washington can't or won't do anything about it.
Kercheval is host of TalkLine, broadcast by the MetroNews Statewide Radio Network from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. The show can be heard locally on WCHS 580 AM.