As the highly scripted stagecraft of the presidential campaign fades from the headlines, there's a new show in Washington. ”Fiscal Cliff” stars President Barack Obama, who urges Republicans and Democrats to agree on a ”grand bargain” that would soften the economic shock of the impending across-the-board tax and spending cuts. But that bipartisan handshake would be nothing to celebrate.
Here's why: Both parties are intent on imposing an austerity budget bloated with military spending and private-industry health insurance waste. That would be a raw deal for the American people.
It's a sign of Washington's rightward drift that a Democratic president has offered to put Social Security on the chopping block, even though it hasn't contributed one dime to the deficit. And Obama has offered to cut Medicare rather than pursue an improved ”Medicare for All” insurance system that could save trillions over the next decade by eliminating the wasteful bureaucracy and medical inflation inherent in our private health insurance system.
Equally troubling, both parties are ignoring another problem that's truly critical: the climate cliff.
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