Let’s work together: We must put people ahead of politics Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Editor's View by Mary C. Uhler

In Governor Mitt Romney’s concession speech given early on November 7, he implored Republicans and Democrats alike to “put the people before the politics.” In a time of “great challenges for America,” Governor Romney urged our leaders “to reach across the aisles” to help meet those challenges.

In an address at a victory rally in Chicago also in the early morning hours of November 7, President Barack Obama professed his own willingness to work with people of the opposing party. “I believe we can seize this future together — because we are not as divided as our politics suggest; we’re not as cynical as the pundits believe; we are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions; and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and forever will be, the United States of America,” said the president.

I hope Governor Romney and President Obama meant these words. I also hope that leaders of both parties in Congress heard their words and will work hard to put people above politics. The partisan gridlock has to be broken.

It is important that political leaders remain true to their core principles, especially those involving moral and religious values. Yet, I feel there is room to compromise on fiscal issues, particularly with the “fiscal cliff” looming.

The dangers of the ‘fiscal cliff’

The “fiscal cliff” is what Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke has called the many fiscal events that could happen simultaneously at the close of 2012 and the dawning of 2013, according to The Fiscal Times. The events include the expiration of the Bush era tax cuts, the payroll tax cut, and other important tax-relief provisions.

They also include the first installment of the $1.2 trillion across-the-board cuts of domestic and defense programs required under last summer’s bipartisan deficit reduction agreement. At the same time, lawmakers may have to raise the debt ceiling again.

What happens if we fall off the fiscal cliff? If all these tax increases and spending cuts take effect, the government could save nearly $600 billion starting next year, but the impact on the economy would likely mean a new recession, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Facing the challenges

Citizens should urge the president and members of Congress to put together a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. It might mean raising some taxes, especially on the wealthiest people, and/or cutting spending. Whatever we do, our country must be careful to protect the safety net for the most vulnerable members of our society.

Hopefully once the fiscal matters are handled, we can get on to dealing with the important issues of protecting religious liberty, developing a just plan to deal with immigrants, safeguarding the right to life of all human beings, and achieving peace in our country and throughout the world.

We’ve got many challenges ahead. Please pray for our newly elected leaders. And let’s get going!