As has been the case for the past several years, the Standard-Examiner regards the U.S. economy as the most important priority as the new year commences. The dysfunctional inability of the administration and Congress to reach a deal on spending priorities and cuts is a major concern to us. Without political leaders who can work together, compromise and learn to give and take, the recent economic recovery will be threatened.
And, indeed, it is true that the economy has been slowly recovering. The market indices remain bullish. Last month, it was reported that November housing sales were up, thanks in part to better-than-average forecasts. The past summer, the U.S. economy grew at a rate of 3.1 percent thanks largely to more exports and consumer spending. In Utah, the unemployment dropped to 5.1 percent, with 7,800 jobs added in October and November.
But, alas, these gains will be stopped in their tracks if the U.S. Congress and Obama administration fails in their responsibilities to work together. Democrats and Republicans must stop paying heed to well-financed interest groups, and extremists, and create a sensible budget that meets short-term needs and long-term objectives to erase debt and reduce deficits.
Currently, the U.S. economy spends far too much and takes in far too little in taxes. A good bipartisan solution would be to craft a spending to revenue ratio of 21 percent to 18 percent. That would lead us onto a path toward lower spending while not harming the economy. Such a deal would require tax increases and spending cuts. It's outrageous that Congress can't craft such a bill and the president sign it.
As New Year's Day arrives, with its plethora of football and parades, we hold hope that a last-minute deal was crafted to delay the excessive austerity of the fiscal cliff requirements. If that has not occurred, the need for our national pols to get serious about the U.S. economy is even more crucial, since they've already harmed it with their partisan inaction.