Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Funday: Kicking A Bad Habit

Since some of our newest subscribers may not be aware of our usual drill, allow us to quickly explain. Every Friday here at The Daily Felltoon, we usually attempt to veer off a bit from politics and focus on something positive. However, we're also aware we haven't completely closed out the 'fiscal cliff' story, since the deal between President Obama and the Republicans in Congress was reached earlier this week, when we were still on holiday break.

Thus, we'll make our fiscal cliff summary short today, since we've also been giving you such great links to thorough coverage of the fiscal cliff story in our daily e-mail editions and daily archive.

The long and short on the cliff story is simple. The 112th Congress did the only thing they seemed to be good at, kicking the proverbial can down the road. America did go "over the cliff" for a couple of days, raising taxes back to Clinton-era rates, though President Obama's tax cut plan technically brought income tax rates back down for most Americans.

The way the deal was handled most certainly means the grizzly bear of the debt ceiling is waiting in the wings for Congress and the President to deal with over the next two months, spurred on by the extremists in the Republican Party.

Thankfully, the ridiculous drama of the fiscal cliff is over, for now.

On a positive note, the new Congress - the 113th - was sworn in on Thursday, and included some new members we're very happy to see on board, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representative Kyrsten Sinema, and an acquaintance of ours, through our South Florida bureau, Rep. Alan Grayson.

There are a great deal of topics that need to be handled at the federal level over the next two years, as President Obama recently stated, everything from ending the war in Afghanistan to comprehensive immigration reform, to gun safety laws, to education, election reform, and climate change.

It's not a small list - but it's also one we see no real reason that can't be accomplished.

Yes, we're aware that the extremist Republicans still control 51 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and between 15 and 25 seats in the U.S. Senate. There are 435 members of the House and 100 Senators, however - more than enough to override any small group of extremists, from either end of the binary political spectrum, especially if they work together across party lines.

We sincerely hope that this 113th Congress looks at why so much of America is disgusted with them, as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie clearly pointed out this week. On a specific note, Christie rightly took Speaker Boehner and the extremist Republicans to task for wasting nine weeks (and counting) to pass a relief bill for areas affected by Superstorm Sandy.

On a larger note, the reason Americans are angry with our so-called representatives is because the 112th Congress kicked the can down the road - or off the cliff - on almost every topic imaginable, especially the tough ones.

Instead of branding this new Congress with the sins of the last one though, we're trying to kick something ourselves - the habit of holding a grudge against the last assembly.

Today marks the first full day of the 113th Congress. Let's wish them all well, and hope they can do what we've sent them to Washington, DC to do. Namely, solve issues too big for our cities and states, and find compromise solutions that will help make America better.

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