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December 12, 2012

Sappy New Year

NORMAN — We’re running out of time to arrange our New Year’s parties. But how can we, with all the uncertainty about the “fiscal cliff?

Obviously, that’s the preoccupation of each and every one of us, right? So should we plan a joyous celebration to welcome 2013, or will we be moping because our politicians once again really blew it?

If we pay attention to much of the posturing, it sometimes can seem like a deal is out of reach. Everyone is taking shots. Words like “stalemate” fill the airwaves and cable waves. President Barack Obama, who has been stung before by complaints that he’s squishy, is playing Mr. Hardnose now that he won the election. Wherever he can, he’s trying to stick it to the Republicans. At every opportunity, he is informing the world that this time, he will insist on higher tax rates for the wealthy. That, of course, is utter sacri- lege for the GOP, which depends on handouts from the rich for its very existence.

House Speaker John Boehner and company are so flummoxed, they are putting forward proposals that at least pretend to include so-called revenue raisers. Granted, they are based on undefined reforms in deductions, but at least they are changing their tune by even talking about adding money to the budget.

The president doesn’t seem to be budging. Why would he? The polls are on his side. So all us pundits have now turned to discussing what just might happen when we hurtle off the cliff Jan. 1. Will anyone feel immediate pain?

Certainly not. Except maybe investors, for a day or so. Will everyone be embarrassed by those we elected?

Absolutely. They will have yet again demeaned the United States of America. That’s the noise in our echo chamber.

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