Members of the 113th Congress have now taken their oaths of office but their day of congratulatory celebrations and receptions will soon be a distant memory as a series of self-induced fiscal “crises” will demand this new Congress’ full attention. Over the next few months, Congress will face default, sequestration, and a possible government shutdown. We can be sure that the well-financed anti-entitlement lobby will not let these crises go to waste. Each one provides the perfect backdrop for their long-running campaign to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits to pay down the federal deficit.
The ball in Times Square has dropped, 2013 is here and, technically, so is the “fiscal cliff”, as Congress has yet to officially pass a plan to avert the scheduled spending cuts and tax hikes. But before panic sets in, although lawmakers failed to meet the midnight deadline, a deal is in place and the first step to making it official — Senate passage — is in the books.