Problem solved, right? We’re not even close

Congress and President Obama averted the “fiscal cliff” on Tuesday. They did not avert the fiscal disaster that is our federal government.

Responding to the compromise, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson (the men who led Obama’s deficit-reduction commission, which the president ignored) noted: “The deal approved yesterday is a truly missed opportunity to do something big to reduce our long-term fiscal problems … Our leaders must now have the courage to reform our tax code and entitlement programs such that we stabilize our debt and put it on a downward path as a percent of the economy.”

We agree with these statesmen who represent different political parties but who can clearly see the debt disaster looming over the country. And we would note that their words have more meaning for Obama than for others. Republican leaders are more than willing to tackle the nation’s complex, favor-driven tax code and to rein in unsustainable entitlement programs, such as Medicare. Obama needs to prove that he is not just a tax-and-spend liberal, because he certainly appears to be one. The bill approved Tuesday raises taxes on the wealthy and actually increases spending, at the insistence of Democrats. That formula is so wrong that it is immoral.

The debt this generation is piling up is not being used to defend the nation, or build up its roads and bridges, or do other things that hold future value. It is being consumed. The kids and grandkids get the crushing bills.