Fiscal Cliff? Bring it On!

Is it me, or does this whole fiscal cliff thing not sound and read an awful lot like the Y2K bug of a few years back?  And need I remind you how that turned out?

Look, I understand the concern over the preponderance of forces that could start dragging down our economy come January of next year. 

I understand too that a combination of congressionally mandated government rollbacks and tax increases (or at least expiration of tax cuts) could have a chilling effect on how money moves from one pocket to next in this country, as well as how things like consumer spending, housing starts, bank loans, small business expansion, entrepreneurial start-ups, etc. could be negatively impacted.

But there are so many more things at work in our economy these days that Chicken Little seems to want to overlook when it comes to this so-called “fiscal cliff” – or at least seems willing to overlook because it makes political sense to do so, at least until the election is over.

But, seriously, can I talk about those things?  Can I talk about all those aspects of this economy that are, quite frankly, kicking the butts of our competitors all over the globe and taking names in the process?

Are these people even slightly aware of the phenomenon of re-shoring, and how hundreds of American companies and tens of thousands of American jobs continue to find their way back home to these shores after years abroad?

Have they noticed the extent to which American manufacturing has exploded recently, and are they even vaguely aware that the stunning growth in our sector is due primarily to some equally stunning advances in technology and something American manufacturers now lead the world in by leaps and bounds; efficiency?

Do they have any idea just how much manufacturer confidence in this country has shot skyward these past two years, and how manufacturing’s confidence has in turn triggered a whole new wave of confidence in the American consumer?

And finally, have they even bothered to factor in the one mantra that all the best companies in America have started to adopt, particularly those in manufacturing and technology; a mantra that could (and should) be this country’s economic North Star for as long as anyone with any sense can possibly foresee – innovation?

These are the factors that I see having the greatest impact on the economy in the months and years ahead.  And these are factors I continue to see serving as the still-singing canary in our collective coal mine. 

Not government spending.  Not the expiration of tax cutbacks.

Yes, government spending is important.  Yes, reducing our debt to a manageable level would be great.  And yes, putting a few extra dollars in every American’s pocket wouldn’t hurt the economy, and most likely help it.  

But all that is minor league stuff compared to what’s really been responsible for getting America back on track these past few years, which is exactly where we are. 

C’mon folks, let’s be smart about this, OK?  Just like with Y2K, let’s be careful not to confuse something that will happen with something that might happen.  Let’s, in other words, not get ahead of ourselves. 

But if it does happen, so what?  I mean that.  So (bleeping) what? 

Maybe a little adversity and belt tightening would do our government, if not our entire economy, some good.  At the very least it would prove our mettle as a people and make us find something inside ourselves – just as we’ve done so many times before – that rises to the occasion; that is more about adapting and soldiering on than whining or complaining.

In the meanwhile, I urge you to think about where our economy is today.  Think about how dire things seemed to be for us economically just four years ago.  And think of all the positive trends we’ve seen come into play since then, and some of the good things we now have going for us — not the least of which are those outlined above. 

But most importantly, just like with the Y2K bug, where the only people who truly benefited from the fear surrounding it were those who helped create such fear in the first place, let’s just consider the possibility that this whole fiscal cliff thing is nothing more than the product of a handful of Washington insider who – given that this is a  presidential election year – have fabricated it solely to gain from it.

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