The crisis du jour in Washington now dominating the news, the so-called "fiscal cliff," is but the latest in seemingly endless political crises that we shouldn't be having.
We get two different kinds of problems in life: the real ones -- the struggle to work and improve the quality of our lives -- and the ones we bring on ourselves through poor behavior.
The more time we must deal with the latter type, the less time and energy we have to tackle life's real problems and challenges.
The political crises that emanate from Washington are invariably problems of the type that result from poor behavior. And this latest, the fiscal cliff, is no exception.
Let's recall that the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to occur in January -- the fiscal cliff -- are the result of the failure of Republicans and President Barack Obama to agree on a budget deal as a condition for raising the debt ceiling last year.
Why do we have to keep raising the debt ceiling? Because politicians are afraid to be honest with the American people and immediately raise taxes to pay for all their new spending. So instead of raising taxes and paying for our new bills when we incur them, they just borrow the money.
Anybody who doesn't pay the full balance on a credit card bill each month knows what this is about.
Except there's one big difference. You run up your credit card bill on your own account. You are the one who is on the line for your own bills.
Politicians run up bills on our account. We're on the line for what they spend.
They could just be honest. When they have their wonderful ideas about what they want to spend our money on, they could go right to taxpayers and say, "We are going to spend X for Y, so we will raise your taxes by Z to pay for it, OK?"
They don't do this because they know it is not OK. Politicians know that the money they are spending ultimately will come out of every American household. And if they go to those households, to those actually responsible for paying the bills, and the heads of those households know they don't have the money, they will say, "No. Don't spend the money and don't raise my taxes."
So politicians don't ask.
And our constitution, which originally was supposed to protect the property of citizens, is now so degraded that they can do this.
They just spend the money and borrow on our behalf -- often from those overseas, like the Chinese -- to pay the bills.
Then they tell the American people about all the great ideas they are spending money on: Bail out companies that have failed. Promote green energy. Extend unemployment benefits so you can collect for four years. And so on.
It all sounds so wonderful and innovative and compassionate. And even better, somebody else is paying for it all. We think.
Now our debt, at over $16 trillion, is bigger than our whole economy -- more than 100 percent of our gross domestic product.
Investment guru Bill Gross, of PIMCO in Newport Beach, Calif., has been writing that the "new normal" for economic growth in the U.S. will be below its historic average.
He cites research by Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff that shows that "for the past 200 years, once a country exceeded 90 percent debt-to-GDP ratio, economic growth slowed by nearly 2 percent for an average duration of nearly a decade."
Part of Obama's proposal to bypass the fiscal cliff is to get rid of the requirement that Congress must approve increases in the debt limit. I wonder why?
It's time for responsible behavior and hard choices. If we can't just cut spending, let the fiscal cliff kick in.
Don't tell people where to live, which is what government low-income housing does. (comments)
The basis of humanity, civilization, and decency is respect for and awe of the miracle of life. This must take precedence over all. (comments)
The American recovery is happening despite government, not because of it. (comments)
How far do we let liberals go in censuring speech and ideas in America? (comments)
Why focus on trying to make government more efficient rather than on what government should or should not do? (comments)
Moral relativism does not neutralize the moral marketplace. It replaces one set of values with another. (comments)
Five reforms the new Republican congress can pass to guarantee no more Fergusons. (comments)
There is no poll showing that that the immigration issue sits at the top of concerns of the American people. (comments)
For lack of something of substance to tell the American people, Democrats ran a campaign of hate, blame, and division. (comments)
Black Americans have suffered greatly living under the thumb of government and believing it is a good thing. (comments)
The funds that pay for the fear and disinformation campaign come from groups who really are hurting black Americans. (comments)
As Elbert Guillory points out in his ad, despite all the big government, the economic state of affairs of low-income blacks has changed little over the years. (comments)
Beyond the overriding economic control that the federal government now has over citizens, federal courts now dictate our social norms. (comments)
The black unemployment rate in North Carolina is more than double that of whites. (comments)
American families have been damaged and out-of-wedlock births have increased six-fold from 1960 to 42 percent today. Government has displaced family. (comments)
Republicans should resist temptation to pander and point Hispanics in the direction of freedom and opportunity, what got them here in the first place. (comments)
Diversity should be about about recognizing "diversity of people's gifts, talents, and skills." (comments)
Low-income black parents need options, choices, for educating their children outside the public school monopoly. (comments)
Since Johnson, the government has spent $15 trillion dollars fighting poverty without reducing poverty. (comments)
What do successful, wealthy black entrepreneurs know that they are not sharing with their own? (comments)