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  • Morning Bell: ’Twas the Night Before Cliff-mas

    Christmas arrives this year at a time when our nation is on the brink of the fiscal cliff. With time running out for President Obama and Congress to reach an agreement, this Christmas Eve we bring to you 2012 twist on Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” It was produced by Public Notice as part of its Bankrupting America project.

    The poem was sent to members of Congress and President Obama “to lift their spirits during the final weeks of negotiations and hopefully inspire some responsibility.” We hope you enjoy it. Have a safe and festive Christmas Eve.

    ’Twas the night before Cliff-mas, and all through the House
    Not a member was working, no ideal to espouse;
    Their offices closed, the members all gone,
    No solution for a budget plan had yet to be drawn.

    Our Congress had spent a year feuding again,
    While uncertainty and poor growth plagued businessmen;
    The economy had slowed, unemployment was high,
    Things weren’t looking up for a taxpayer, like I.

    On December 31st tax rates were scheduled to rise,
    Which many agreed was not in itself wise.
    With this, another date caught the country’s fiscal fixation—
    The second of January was set for across-the-board sequestration.

    I’d heard all the talk, all the senators saying,
    “If we’re spending this much, someone has to be paying!”
    The rhetoric from the news droned on in my head,
    As I turned off my light, and crawled into bed.

    When out on the Mall there arose such a clatter,
    I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
    It was the President! His sudden arrival was thrilling,
    He went after the Congress, he called them by building:

    “Now, Senate! Now, Hart! Now, Russell and Dirksen!
    On House! on Rayburn! on, Longworth and Cannon!
    The fiscal cliff is approaching! We need to make cuts!
    Bad policy and spending got us into this rut!”

    Out came the lawmakers, their cheeks from sleep rosy,
    I saw Boehner, Reid, McConnell and Pelosi;
    They gathered together, their eyes straight ahead,
    Some seemed optimistic, as the president said:

    “We need to end this uncertainty, if we are to stay strong,
    I know we can do it, if we all get along.
    We won’t hurt the middle class, we’ll raise taxes on the wealthy!
    It’s right for everyone to pay a fair share to keep our economy healthy!”

    Reid stepped up as well, his voice rather hoarse,
    “We know that we need to include a few cuts, of course.
    This deficit spending hurts our economy in the long-run,
    But for now, raising some taxes will help everyone!”

    “Now hold on one minute,” Boehner said with a sigh,
    “You know the tax increase you propose is too high!
    The wealthy you speak of—they aren’t you and me;
    They’re middle-class, and small business owners you see!”

    “You won’t close the tax loopholes, you won’t lower our debt!
    You’ll create a situation where new investors will sweat!
    We need tax reform, to resolve all this clutter!”
    He stepped back with a nod—the crowd started to mutter.

    Was he right? Was it true? Could reform solve it all?
    Or would a tax hike spur investment and keep us from a fall?
    It was the same talk I’d heard, the same from before—
    So I ran down the stairs, and I opened the door:

    “You say you’ll manage the tax code, and cut wasteful spending,
    But it’s these political struggles that keep our economy pending!
    We need real reform, not this spending obsession;
    ‘Else this cliff should put us in another recession!”

    The lawmakers started, they had not known I was there;
    And they sputtered and scattered and ran without care;
    I watched them go and yelled after them, as they took flight:
    “Avoid the fiscal cliff for all, and to YOU a good-night!”

    Quick Hits:

    • President Obama is in Hawaii for his Christmas vacation, taking a break from the fiscal cliff negotiations to golf with staff and friends.
    • An estimated 225,000 people leave California each year, a decade-long trend that could become worse in light of new tax increases passed in November.
    • Jon Hammar, the Marine combat veteran who was held in a violent Mexican prison for four months, is back on U.S. soil.
    • Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) predicted the pork-filled $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy disaster aid bill would pass the Senate “virtually unscathed.”
    • Following the Arab Spring, the Middle East has become an even more hostile environment to Western values, reports Heritage’s James Phillips.
    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

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