As a boy growing up in the Midwest with rivers and lakes and the occasional hill, I always thought I was in the best place. Then came the Elvis Presley movie, “Fun in Acapulco.”
The main set piece for this musical comedy was something that brought me endless fascination – a 136 foot cliff used for diving into the ocean. Elvis plays Mike, who got bounced from his fishing boat job for getting too interested in the owner’s daughter and ends up with a new job as a resort hotel lifeguard. There he gets into competition diving off that cliff.
“Going over the fiscal cliff” is going to be more worn political rhetoric unless we demand more. Maybe you are satisfied, but I am mightily disappointed by the major outcome of this election.
Don’t get excited, I am not going all partisan on you. Personally, if it were not for fact that I can mail it in, I could not be counted on to walk to my polling place and its only three blocks away. I generally hate giving any encouragement to politicians.
No, all I am talking about is that I was put through the torture of living in a swing state for this little drama, and we ended with the same old, same old line-up in charge of government.
Forgive me; I am suffering from PPTSD this week. That’s post political traumatic stress disorder, common to those of us who opted not to evacuate from a swing state for the just ended elections. We rode it out. Our phones are no longer ringing, but we can not say that about our ears.
We are going to leave our radios and TVs off for least another week to make sure we are not going to hear more insulting political ads. And the U.S Postal Service can be shut down forever after the tonnage it dropped on us without mercy.
Living in a swing state this election cycle was like being forced to stand outside in a tin hat during a hailstorm that lasts for about six months.
So when we can finally lift our heads and we see that Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and John Boehner are still in charge of the government of the United States, its more than a disappointment, it’s like those five weak governments that led up to the Civil War.
These are the same three who failed in 2010 to jump at well thought-out bipartisan fiscal recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson Commission co-chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson.
Bowles, President Clinton’s former chief of staff, and Wyoming’s Simpson did not hold much back at a presentation I saw them do in Denver after the ruling trio pretty well rejected their work. They were careful in what they said about the elected ones, but I remember leaving thinking if the same three face cards come up after this election, we’re screwed!
Well, here we are with Barack Obama as President, Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader, and John Boehner as Speaker of the House. No change. Wow. Americans are not as good as they used to be at a lot of things, but put us down for the Gold Medal in divided government.
So let’s talk about that “fiscal cliff.” Unless Obama, Reid, and Boehner reach agreement by New Year’s, automatic cuts of 8.2 percent go into effect for all non-defense spending programs. This across-the-board cut in domestic spending will cover all federally funded food safety services.
That means everything from U.S. Department of Agriculture meat plant inspectors to Food and Drug Administration teams who investigate multistate outbreaks to those vital Center for Disease Control and Prevention labs down in Atlanta. The Executive Office of Management and Budget says, “Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. It is not the responsible way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction.”
Because federally-funded food safety programs are largely paid for out of the general fund, out of every dollar they get about 41 cents is borrowed. It puts them in extreme jeopardy as the government remains on track to borrow another $5 trillion in the next four years.
But the three guys that run the government before will be sitting around the table, working the problem. And do think we need to up the ante. How about this? If there is no agreement by Christmas, the negotiations will be moved to Acapulco, Mexico.
If there is no agreement by New Year’s Eve and automatic cuts take effect, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and John Boehner will each be required to take a dive off that 136 foot cliff?
Now that would be a “fiscal cliff.”© Food Safety News