There is a lot of attention being paid to the failure of some members of Congress, mostly Republicans, and the president to come to an agreement on the so-called fiscal cliff, and there is good reason for those of us here in Yuma to be concerned.
If there is no agreement by the end of the year, automatic tax increases for all Americans and extensive government cutbacks will start to go into effect. That is what was supposed to make lawmakers and the White House come to agreement on deficit issues. It has not worked, at least so far.
This is particularly troubling for our community, because we have a large military presence here and many federal government workers.
About half of the federal spending cuts would come in the Defense Department if the country goes over the fiscal cliff. That means the many civilians working at our two military bases could be impacted, as well as military operations.
Military officials have said the drastic military cuts would impact the military preparedness of the nation and potentially its security.
These are troubled times in the world. There are many uncertainties and potential threats. This is not the time to weaken our military through automatic cutbacks that do not take into account the needs of our military services.
The irony is that congressional leaders and the White House have been coming closer to an agreement in recent days. There is very little space between them, but the deal seems to have blown up at the last minute.
We are wondering if part of the reason is that some see going over the fiscal cliff as an acceptable idea.
There are some in Congress who aren't upset about the idea of drastic cuts in the government. They believe the government is far too large anyway, and forcing it to go on a diet is a good idea.
There are others who have long wanted the tax cuts that have been in effect for some years now to end. They feel the government lacks adequate revenue.
The problem is that this ignores the harm that will result for Americans – including those of us living here – and the fiscal damage to our economy that could occur.
Let us hope that those in Washington will get the gift of common sense this Christmas and deal with this issue.