"The Fiscal Cliff," a movie coming to your home in 2013, is one every American needs to see.
The movie opens with an intense scene depicting the men and women of the United States federal government as they bark into microphones and smile for the cameras of the American press corp. With all the maturity of first-graders on a playground, our fearless leaders hurl insults at each other and stomp menacingly through the corridors of our nation's capitol. The movie plot escalates into a struggle for lawmakers as they fight for their human right to make $174,000 per year, work an average of 200 days a year, and have every holiday and vacation possible.
The story's climax is a real nail-bitter as the 112th U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama race headlong down the dusty roads of Washington toward the enemy they all dread - financial responsibility. In a scene nobody could have predicted, they fly over, then dangle from the fiscal cliff perilously; believing that somewhere below them is a trampoline that will catch the federal budget and send it bouncing back up to the top.
The Fiscal Cliff's exciting cast of characters includes:
The leading man, our president, who demands that the rich pay their fair share so that the common man's burden is lifted. Yet all the while, he stuffs his campaign pockets with money from the Hollywood elite and repays them with $430 million in tax breaks and incentives.
The seemingly evil speaker of the house, who appears to be holding America hostage in order to protect the wealthy and further break the backs of the impoverished. But deep in the recesses of his soul, he's just trying to help the penniless NASCAR lovers by providing them with $70 million in tax breaks and incentives to help race tracks be a prettier place to throw beer cans into.
The Democrats of Congress who are certain that the recent election proves they have a mandate to decide for their constituents what fuel is best for their cars. The $59 million in tax credits for algae growers will surely add a lovely, green hue (and odor) to every cheerio-covered minivan and gun-racked truck in America.
The Republicans of Congress who have lost their way and are crying "cut spending, cut spending!" all the way home. But even in the midst of an identity crisis, they've remembered the penniless rum makers of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who would surely be bankrupt without $222 million in returned excise taxes. From a prohibition amendment to $222 million for the struggling alcohol makers of our country in under 100 years - wouldn't our Founding Fathers be proud?
And last but not least, there are the United States citizens and tax-payers. A confused generation of people who must not understand that two plus two equals 40,000,000 because the numbers of the federal budget never seem to add up (but nevermind that because the Senate hasn't had a budget in years). If 77 percent of us would only believe that dollar fairies do exist, we would be willing to click our ruby slippers together and cough up the added $800-$1,200 we'll all be paying in taxes this year.
Just in the nick of time, right as the federal government's grip is slipping, Congress finds yet another way to avoid making decisions about entitlement programs and defense spending. With the agility of a Republican elephant and the intellect of a Democratic donkey, they grab onto the life-line of the American taxpayer and are pulled to safety ... for another two months ... or until the next election cycle.
In what has become a stereotypical Washington screen play - there are no real heroes in the script, the American people are paying to watch a movie they've already seen, and the story has no resolution. But at least Hollywood gets $430 million. Who better to help Washington produce their next movie?
- Tiffany Miller is a Tahoe resident and mother. Visit her website at http://mycrayonbox.org.