‘Murica 2013: Solutions we can count on?

Trevor Nichols, News Editor

Last week, Congress managed to avert going over the “fiscal cliff.” The compromise bill evokes memories of recent eleventh hour family Christmas shopping, in that it was a last ditch effort, not very high quality, and contained altogether too much shouting for anybody involved to be happy with the results. With neither Democrats nor Republicans entirely satisfied with their compromise, tensions in Washington remain high. This is particularly unfortunate considering that Congress is about to enter another fiscal battle next month, over raising the debt ceiling.

Congress has made it clear in the last few weeks of negotiation that it is only interested in temporary, Band-Aid solutions that only put off tough decisions for the future. And that’s okay! Because if Congress is looking for a temporary, terrible plan that will only serve to postpone budgetary issues and sacrifice political capital on a temporary solution, I have a fantastic terrible plan to propose.

The biggest problem stopping Congress from making any sort of meaningful, lasting compromise is not an obstructionist House, or a polarized representation of Tea Party Republicans, or an increase in Senate filibustering past the point of reason, or even Speaker Boehner’s tight control of the House. It is giving all of our budgetary emergencies intimidating names.

Labels such as the “fiscal cliff” sound scary and overly dramatic. The title “debt ceiling” sounds austere and daunting. What’s next, the “inflation ring of fire” or the “economic velociraptor cage?” How can we expect our representatives to be able to compromise in this nerve-racking environment? If the name of the crisis is more terrifying than the crisis itself, there is obviously a problem within our legislative system. That is why I propose that we rename all budgetary emergencies to sound less threatening in order to increase the efficiency of government negotiations.

Just to give an example, the “debt ceiling” could be known as the “debt stop sign,” or the “debt friendly crossing guard.” The “fiscal cliff” could be known as the “fiscal hill with a slightly steep slope that can occasionally cause people to stumble.” See how the dynamic changes when the title is different? I already feel more prepared to consider learning to compromise on significant cuts rather than just putting them off.

Of course, we have to be careful that these friendly names do not lull our Representatives into a false state of security, as these financial emergencies are every bit as serious as before they were renamed, and are utterly crucial to the American economy. But not to fear, I have a contingency plan for this scenario! If no significant progress is made to help fix the budget within the next twelve months, then all the monetary emergencies’ names will revert to their old, scary and daunting titles. Call it the “euphemism cataclysm.” Congress will be forced to take action in negotiations to prevent reaching this deadline.

Realistically, will this plan actually fix anything? Absolutely not. But hey, it may delay any serious consequences for a few months, and if I’ve learned anything over the last few weeks, our country needs that more than it needs viable, more permanent solutions. You’re welcome, America.

Note: In the unlikely event that my proposal is not passed immediately, the name “Stagflation Supervolcano” cannot be used to describe the next economic crisis, as I have already called dibs on it as the name of my new avant-garde rock band.