Avoid next cliff

Published 10:55 am Thursday, January 3, 2013

Congress and the president avoided one fiscal cliff at the last minute. Now it’s time for the president, and leaders of the House and Senate, to get serious about avoiding future cliff-type situations, a couple of which are already looming. Last-minute compromises are never ideal and often are very bad, and there’s simply no need for brinksmanship.

Although the immediate emergency has passed, major differences of opinion remain about how and whether to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, and about how to address federal spending cuts that were delayed only two months by this week’s compromise. There is little doubt that the federal government is a poor steward of the taxpayers’ money, so there’s plenty of reason to think beneficial compromise can be found on the issue of spending cuts — the kind of compromise that will only materialize from calm, reasoned discussion. Decisions about the debt ceiling would then flow logically from that discussion and resulting decision.

Americans should expect — and demand — that there be significant and immediate discussion about the fiscal issues that Congress and the president must resolve during the fist half of 2013. Toeing the edge of a cliff is neither pleasant or useful, and it is up to our leaders to keep the country well back from that edge in the future.

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