News and Tribune


December 9, 2012

CUMMINS: How to get up after falling

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — If you’ve been following the news, you know that our country is about to fall off a “fiscal cliff.” In addition to that, Texas and several other states have petitioned to secede from our union, but the good news is that the Duchess of Cambridge is suffering from acute morning sickness. She’s with child, which insures continuation of the royal British monarchy. The bad news is that Texas might secede and join Mexico to form a more-perfect union.

 Maybe you’ve not been following the news, other than the breaking news impacting your daily life. Do you feel like you’re precariously perched on your own fiscal, physical and psychical cliff?  The government is, too. To hear them tell it, if we drop off the fiscal cliff, we’ll become another destitute Greece where democracy first began. I knew democracy would not work. Look at where we are today.

We give thanks on a Thursday, line up at a mall door that night, and at the break of the next day, celebrate Black Friday where people go to maul each other. There was another Friday one time preceding the Resurrection, but that’s beside the point. The point is that government’s outrageous spending with limited tax revenue is what put us on the cliff, and now on Dec. 31 at midnight, be prepared to jump.

Our lives seem to be either on one perilous edge after another. Each time I back off from living dangerously, the government tries to shove me further into the abyss of despondency. Unless Congress acts before 2013, your taxes will skyrocket and you will lose a whole slew of government entitlements and benefits. Taxes will automatically increase on 90 percent of Americans, and $109 billion will be cut from the federal budget in each of the next nine years. Other nations will attack us, because of defense cutbacks, and bridges will crumble, schools will close and sewage will flow into neighborhood cesspools. In the meantime, Merry Christmas to you. Enjoy it, because seven days later the fiscal cliff might take you right along with it.

Solving the fiscal-cliff dilemma is a third-grade math problem, simple addition and subtraction. Congress merely needs to agree on increasing revenue and reduce spending. The only problem is that Republicans will commit suicide before they agree to raise taxes on themselves, whereas Democrats love to spend as if every day was Black Friday. 

Cliff tottering happens when politicians put politics above duty. Duty happens when politicians take a loyalty pledge to country. The previous president cut taxes, de-regulated Wall Street and declared two 10-year wars. The middle 47 percent were encouraged to buy houses with no money down. Thus, bailouts, buyouts, unemployment compensation and food stamps increased the deficit and debt to staggering proportions.

The story in the movie, “Lincoln” tells how the president persuaded Congress to pass the 13th amendment, or else slavery might still be on the books. It boiled down to persuasion, compromising and paying off a few Congressmen with good government jobs. Lincoln wouldn’t stoop that low, would he? Yes, a shrewd politician has to do what he has to do, which sometimes justifies doing what’s “right.” Is it right to raise taxes on those who can afford it and cut spending including waste, pork, subsidies to oil companies and bridges to nowhere?  

Could democracy get any worse than during the past year-long presidential election. After pouring $1.3 billion into the attack-ad campaign, the next day it was announced that we were one-step away from either Armageddon or the Rapture. Of course, each congressional man, woman and child (too many of them have not grown up yet) has to be re-elected in order to oppose whatever the opposition proposes. If you propose Rapture, then I’m for Armageddon. Churchill observed that America finally does the right thing after trying everything else. We’ll see.

If you follow the news, you’ll see various leaders standing on the Capitol steps explaining what the American people want. All this American wants is for them to shut the XXXX up, and do what’s right for a change.

 Lincoln abolished slavery, saving the union, and now President Obama or John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and the Tea Party will save us from whatever it is at the bottom of the cliff. Sometimes, it takes a thud to shock us into regaining our senses. Since it’s peace-on-earth season, is it asking too much to please grant us one silent night this year?

Contact Terry Cummins at



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