Every time you turn on the television, someone is talking about falling off the fiscal cliff. When most Americans hear the terminology the fiscal cliff, they think of a devastating disaster that will destroy the financial stability of our country. If there is no bipartisan compromise worked out by both parties and the president, on December 31, 2012, the fiscal cliff will start.

It is obvious that fear and destitution is the focus of this narrative, and it is farther from the truth. The fiscal cliff is terminology that features a number of tax increases and spending cuts that refers to the combination of two major policy changes due to go into effect in January 2013.

The first policy change is called “the sequester” and it will make automatic spending cuts across domestic discretionary (50 billion per year) and defense (50 billion per year) programs. The second policy change is “the Bush and Obama tax cuts expire, and everyone across the board will see their taxes increase.

President Obama has made it clear that couples making over $250,000 and above is the only group that he wants to increase their taxes. The president has long supported the need for both new revenue and spending cuts to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. House Speaker Boehner and the Republicans initially appeared that they would come to the table and compromise.

The lawmakers have had three years to resolve the fiscal cliff, and now the country is a month away from the two major policy changes, and there is now a stalemate. When the lawmakers had time, it was not important, and it was on the back burner. Now all of the lawmakers are putting the fiscal cliff on the front burner, because it is right around the corner.

Many of the lawmakers are putting the blame on the president, but when there was a bipartisan Super Committee there was paralysis and the two sides could not get anything done. Now many Americans think there is going to be another recession and they are already putting the blame on the president. But many lawmakers know there are thousands of options on the table, if the two parties just sit down and negotiate.

President Obama believes he has a mandate from the citizens, and he is waiting for the Republicans to come to the table. The president’s goal is to protect the middle class, and if Congress agrees and acts, it will keep taxes low for 97% of Americans. The wealthy are asked for a little more, and their taxes will increase.

President Obama knows that during his second term he must address the financial sustainability of the American economic system. He has a responsibility to balance our economy and began to pay down our deficit. The president cannot run away from the fiscal cliff, and the fiscal cliff is actually the fiscal choices, and they will be with the president for the duration of his second term.

President Obama will be forced to make the hard choices and everyone in the country will feel the effects of the fiscal choices. When many of the lawmakers discuss “the sequester” they make it appear that it is the president’s fault, but making cuts to the military is not a bad idea. There are going to be cuts in other areas and everyone should get ready.

If both the parties and the presidents are willing to sit down and negotiate and compromise, the fiscal choices may turn into something positive and proactive. If the fiscal cliff or fiscal choices can help lawmakers avoid a financial disaster, and slow the growth of government debt, everyone wins.

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