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Sun Dec 30, 2012, 12:03 PM

Our Pathetic Congress

by John Avlon Dec 30, 2012 9:43 AM EST

Surprised that our lame-duck representatives can’t reach a fiscal-cliff deal? You shouldn’t be. John Avlon on how our government turned to self-sabotage.

Welcome back to Washington, House of Representatives. Hope you all had a great vacation. While you were out, your inaction caused markets to tumble, and now America is just hours away from collectively being pushed off the fiscal cliff.

Your colleagues in the Senate—the supposedly responsible body—have been working the last three days, trying to put together some kind of deal your fractious asses can pass by New Year’s Eve. The bad news is that as of Sunday morning, they still didn’t have a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. Agreement that 98 percent of Americans shouldn’t have their taxes raised isn’t enough. And deficit and debt reduction? Forget about it—this is all now a desperate exercise in political pain avoidance.

The fiscal cliff is, of course, the world’s most predictable crisis. Congress set this time bomb themselves—and now they can’t agree on how to defuse it, despite more than a year of debate and a presidential election largely centered on the subject.

In a surreal twist, Democrats are readying bills for the first days of the new congress to pass the largest middle-class tax cut in American history if they can’t get enough Republicans to agree we shouldn’t go over the cliff.



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