The fiscal-cliff deal settled nothing in terms of the desperate, ongoing struggle to bring Washington’s devastating deficits under control, but it should put an end, once and for all, to a bitter debate that’s damaged the conservative movement for the last four years.
President Barack Obama Arrives in Briefing Room
U.S. President Barack Obama winks as he arrives in the briefing room at the White House in Washington DC., on Jan. 1, 2013. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a Senate bill Tuesday night, giving the final congressional approval to the bipartisan compromise to avert the "fiscal cliff". (Zhang Jun/Xinhua, via Landov)
With the president participating in successful last-minute efforts to prevent crushing, automatic, across-the-board tax hikes that would have done disastrous damage to the U.S. economy, it’s time for Barack Obama’s angriest critics to finally give up the paranoid fantasy that he’s some sort of alien agent with a secret agenda to wreck capitalism and weaken the United States.
If the president really did nurse a deep-seated desire to ruin the free enterprise system (and the Republican Party along with it), he just missed his golden opportunity.
Had he pushed the nation off the fiscal cliff (as many conservatives feared he would), he could have gained a precious two-fer—savaging the American business community with nightmarish new tax burdens, crushing 30 million new households with the impact of the Alternate Minimum Tax, and blaming stubborn, unyielding Republicans for all the resulting wreckage.
Obama’s willingness to make a deal doesn’t mean that his policies count as wise or far-sighted or beneficial. But his readiness to compromise should prove to anyone but the most deluded nut-case that those policies are not deliberately destructive.
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