Fiscal reboot

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

You’d be surprised how many conversations I’ve had on the topic of the fiscal cliff.

I’ve talked to some people who are pretty smart about this sort of stuff. Almost to a person, they say that the Republicans and Democrats will get right to the edge, and then negotiate a way to avoid it.

I don’t think so. I think they appear to want to go over the edge. I believe the “fiscal cliff” provides cover for these cowardly legislators who can’t risk angering their bases but recognize this country must increase revenues and cut spending.

In a way, it’s the opposite of what happened when the Reno City Council decided to rethink the popular blackmail payout on the Aces Stadium.

To me, the fiscal cliff is more like a fiscal reboot, and like a reboot on a computer, it will either solve a processor issue or, if the computer happens to be updating the operating system, can brick the whole thing. Hate to say it, but our tepid economic recovery is easily comparable to an update of the OS.

I think those Democrats are planning to take up filibuster reform after the first of the year—right after the fiscal cliff is either avoided or embraced—because then they can immediately reinstate the middle class tax cuts, increase tax rates on the top 2 percent of Americans, add more stimulus money, close tax loopholes—there’s a whole laundry list of spending and cutting favorites in the Democratic playbook—all anyone has to look at is the “deal” Obama offered to Boehner on Nov. 29.

Think those House Republicans will stand with their Senate cohorts and continue to block legislation when their constituents are suddenly paying more in taxes, losing their jobs, seeing businesses close? Fat chance.

But we’ll see. This is all conjecture. Nobody really knows what unholy deals are being made behind closed doors on Capitol Hill.