I’m going to go out on a limb and assume the majority in the House and the minority in the Senate support full-throated austerity akin to that imposed onto the Eurozone periphery. I am not at all convinced the austerity mavens’ counterparts in Congress and the executive branch oppose the kinds of policies that have driven Greece and Spain’s economies to Depression levels of damage, but I hope these ideas might find receptive ears.
Needless to say, I consider the debt ceiling to be the root cause of the January conundrum. The fact that the next required lifting of the debt ceiling (projected to threaten a debt default AGAIN next February) is not mentioned hand-in-hand with the so-called “fiscal cliff” austerity is astounding to me. January would only involve haggling over tax rates if it weren’t for the nutty reality that agreeing to pay the U.S.’s debts has become controversial. Not tying the two together would be a major mistake for certain parties in Congress and the executive branch in my view.
I would postulate that any agreement to avoid the “fiscal cliff” should at the very least raise the debt ceiling; otherwise the nation returns to square one haggling over that issue a month later so what’s the point? However, because paying debts has become controversial to a significant number of congressmen and senators, I have come to believe raising the debt ceiling is insufficient. The debt ceiling itself has to go. At the very minimum, a successful outcome for the entire nation’s sake must include the elimination of the debt ceiling and the legislated assurance that all current and future debts are guaranteed to be paid. This policy should seem self-evident, but since 2011 it clearly is not.