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.
Planned Parenthood, which rakes in hundreds of millions in the abortion business, actively discourages women from going to crisis pregnancy centers. (comments)
The irony does not drip but pours forth like a tsunami when liberals start talking about morality and ethics. (comments)
Black Americans are bearing the brunt of the cost of a nation that has lost its moral rudder as a result of wantonly legal and available abortion. (comments)
As our reverence for life has diminished, so has our reverence for the institutions that surround and support it. (comments)
National pro-life leaders were demonstrating outside Kermit Gosnell's abortion center as early as February 2011. (comments)
Carson, through diligence and traditional values, achieved on his own what trillions of dollars of government programs were supposed to deliver. (comments)
Employment set-asides designated for unskilled foreign workers, with wage levels determined by the government, are nothing but a stick in the eye to competing low-wage workers in the American market. (comments)
The purge of religion and traditional values from our public schools has produced a new generation of with values different from those of their parents and grandparents. (comments)
If we are going to save our cities, we need to get back to what built them in the first place: Freedom, enterprise and entrepreneurship. (comments)
I saw a once-barren land -- a land once described by Mark Twain as "a desolate country ... a silent and mournful expanse" -- now fruitful and ripe. (comments)
No gun-sale background check could have prevented the Sandy Hook tragedy. (comments)
Medicaid is a pure welfare program. (comments)
Gun control initiatives mask the issues that really need attention. (comments)
At the National Prayer Breakfast, Ben Carson reminds us that religious ritual devoid of content is pointless and destructive. (comments)
No matter how hard you squint and try to discern the values of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in those now wielding the money and power at the top of the party, they've disappeared. (comments)
Why are the president and Feinstein so ready to compromise basic American freedoms with gun control measures to solve a problem that Obama acknowledges we don't understand? (comments)
It is no accident that as the American welfare state grew, the American family collapsed. (comments)
What was once understood as religion and tradition is now called bigotry and pushed off the stage. (comments)
An ultrasound picture, showing the growing and moving fetus, has raised awareness that this unborn child is alive and that abortion is murder. (comments)
Economic growth happens when success and risk taking is rewarded and sloth and failure is not. (comments)