Congress’ hectic resolution of the “fiscal cliff” crisis is the latest in a long series of decisions by lawmakers and the White House to do less than promised ”” and to ask Americans for little sacrifice ”” in confronting the nation’s burgeoning debt.
The deal will generate $600 billion in new revenue over 10 years, less than half the amount President Barack Obama first called for. It will raise income tax rates only on the very rich, despite Obama’s campaign for broader increases.
It puts off the toughest decisions about spending cuts for military and domestic programs, including Medicare and Social Security. And it does nothing to mitigate the looming partisan showdown on the debt ceiling, which must rise soon to avoid default on U.S. loans.
In short, the deal reached between Obama and congressional Republicans continues to let Americans enjoy relatively high levels of government service at low levels of taxation. The only way that’s possible, of course, is through heavy borrowing, which future generations will inherit.