I’m not sure I know exactly what the fiscal cliff is unless it is like the fiscal bus. A few years ago, as I recall, we were all going to be thrown under the fiscal bus if we didn’t adopt a tighter federal budget. The elderly were going to be thrown out of the fiscal airplane if we didn’t reform Social Security. And so forth.
I happen to be one of those who believe that the best way to handle the fiscal cliff is to send Congress home right now before it can make any more trouble, and make it stay home until about June of next year.
Let President Obama make his State of the Nation address to a television camera in the Oval Office, not before Congress with Mrs. Obama, the kids and dog in attendance, but everybody else staying home.
You will be surprised at how much good that will do.
After President James Garfield was shot on July 2, 1881, and he lay in the White House for several weeks being prodded and poked by physicians trying to save his life, the members of Congress stayed home. Although Garfield was conscious most of the time, he did very little.
Yet, the country ran just fine, even after the president was taken to the New Jersey seaside for an attempt at recuperation.
That may have been because one of Garfield’s first acts was to modestly reform the Civil Service system, taking it off patronage. It meant people hired to run the government would be hired not for their politics so much as for their work skills.
By the time Congress came back in June, the economy would be back on its feet, but Congress would go home again in August, as it always does, for its summer vacation, allowing little time for it to foul things up.
In other words, what we should do is throw Congress off the fiscal cliff, or under the fiscal bus, and leave the rest of us alone.