Democratic United States Senate candidate Bob Kerrey doesn’t see Congress acting anytime soon to avoid the “fiscal cliff”.
Economists have warned that if Congress allows $500 billion in tax increases and budget cuts to go into effect, it will drive the economy over a “fiscal cliff”.
“You need about a grade school education to figure out what they’re going to do,” Kerrey tells Nebraska Radio Network. “They’re going to walk over the cliff and then when they vote after January 1, they’ll all be voting for tax cuts.”
Congress left Washington, D.C. on its August recess without addressing what many economists see as the most pressing issue facing the nation. Tax cuts totaling $331 billion enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush expire at the end of the year. Failure to reach agreement on a budget deal earlier threatens to enact $1.2 billion in across-the-board spending cuts at the beginning of the year.
Kerrey says America must get its fiscal house in order and to do that both political parties need to give. Kerrey says Democrats must agree to reform Social Security and Medicare while Republicans must agree to raise taxes.
“My own view is, that if you’re going to get on a sustainable path to balance the budget, which is the primary reason I’m running, you have to have shared sacrifice,” Kerrey says. “And, it isn’t shared sacrifice if you say that people earning more than $250,000 aren’t going to have to pay a little more in taxes to get the job done, because we’re going to be cutting a lot of programs, a lot of programs, in order to get that job done.”
Little legislation has passed in Congress this year as partisan gridlock has Washington in its grip.
Kerrey says partisanship has to end.
“It can’t continue after the election,” Kerrey says before correcting himself. “Well, actually it can, but you have to hope that it doesn’t, because if it does, the country’s in serious trouble.”
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that the country will lurch into recession if Congress allows the tax increases and budget cuts to go into effect. A new study by the CBO estimates the abrupt fiscal constraints would force the economy to contract by nearly 3%, costing the nation about two million jobs. Unemployment would jump and likely stay above 8% through 2014.
AUDIO: Democrat Bob Kerrey discusses the “fiscal cliff” with Brent Martin. [3:30]