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Miller: Fiscal cliff needs to be avoided

BY GUEST OPINION | DECEMBER 07, 2012 6:30 AM

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You may have more in common with your member of Congress than you think, especially around this time of year. Students and lawmakers alike want to finish up the year and head home for the holidays. But there’s a final exam standing between Congress and the holidays — and America’s citizens are ready to give the body an “F” if it doesn’t pass.             

That exam is coming in the form of the “fiscal cliff” — the combination of arbitrary, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases coming at the end of the year that could cripple the economy. It all started last year when Congress picked 12 of its members to try to find a deal to secure America’s long-term financial future. Consumer confidence had dropped dramatically, and a credit ratings agency dropped our country’s rating.

It seemed the only thing that could make members of both parties work across the aisle was an alternative so terrible it would be untenable to both parties.

The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that if we do not avoid the fiscal cliff, the $7 trillion combination of spending cuts and tax increases could send the economy hurtling back into recession for years to come. Unemployment, especially among young people, will rise even further. Education will suffer among the harshest spending cuts, losing about $4.8 billion in funding.

We need real solutions. These solutions begin with both parties understanding they need to work together to stave off this crisis. No Labels — a growing grass-roots movement of hundreds of thousands of Republicans, Democrats, and independents — is working to facilitate just this kind of cooperation. Since last year, we’ve been advocating for leaders in all negotiations to put everything on the table and ensure all interested parties are at the table. You can be a part of this movement and sign on at NoLabels.org.

Changing Washington won’t happen quickly. But even you would have a hard time cramming three years’ worth of work into one night. What we can do now is commit ourselves and hold our elected officials accountable to the idea that progress is only made when our common national interest is the priority. And that is what No Labels is all about.

Jonathan Miller
No Labels cofounder


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