In all the celebration last night, I forgot that one of the major features of the transition between 2012 and 2013 was the resolution -- or not -- of the issue of the Fiscal Cliff. Fortunately, John Green reminded me in his Vlogbrothers video today. The video was, tellingly, titled, Why Does Congress Suck?
I've been trying, for the last half hour or so, to figure out what's going on with our government right now. It appears, according to an article on Politico updated at 7:08pm today, that the House of Representatives has failed to vote in the deal that the Senate passed last night, 89-8, meaning that -- right now -- we've gone over the fiscal cliff.
Er, update (not that I posted this before getting here) -- as of 7:37, according to businessinsider.com, the House Republicans have proposed an amendment, but they don't think they have the votes to get it through, and "Republican members are now saying that it looks like the ... bill will pass on an up-down vote."
I'll be keeping this window open tonight, because it's a live-blog, so I will hopefully get better information here than I'm getting frantically googling. I'm going to post this now, but will continue updating.
UPDATE 7:53 in a super-exciting turn of events, Businessinsider quotes a GOP House aide arguing that the Senate bill will be passed: "Members seem tired and ready to go home." I know this isn't serious commentary, but I'm annoyed and feel like being pissy: does it bother anyone else that the (at least short-term) fate of this country is hinging on a bunch of old people feeling tired? I think the federal government should be required to stay up late sometimes if it's necessary to stop America from collapsing into a new depression.
UPDATE 8:03 I have a tweet! This means I get to try out embedding a tweet! It's via Dana Bash, who is a CNN reporter. So it's pretty credible, I guess.
UPDATE 8:13 Loads of people are complaining about the fact that Hollywood gets tax incentives on Twitter. I am frustrated by this. Not that the government doesn't have a problematic relationship with Hollywood, but governments subsidize industries. They do that. All the time. Subsidizing American entertainment means we get to sell our entertainment overseas, we get to influence the worldwide narrative, we get to pump ourselves up as a destination for tourism and economics. Like most other industries, a healthy entertainment industry is good for America, so it makes sense to stabilize it against the clumsiness of the free market.
UPDATE 8:27 I've seen this link about 20 times on Twitter in the last half hour, so I'm going to talk about it.
Did you look? Pictured is a comically oversized graph showing the massive difference between the tax increases that the current bill suggests and the 2011 budget deficit.
a. The 2011 budget deficit isn't on the table. It will never be on the table. There is no way to negotiate out the current deal in such a way as will change how much money we spent in 2011. Maybe it had something to do with the amount it went down this past year. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that there are spending cuts in the deal, too, meaning the deficit will be going down again.
b. I've mentioned this before, I think, but it's okay for a government to have a deficit. It's practically required during a recession, because we need money to stimulate our economy, and (by definition) we don't have a lot of money. Borrowing money is how you solve those problems. Furthermore, most of our deficit is money borrowed from the American people, or other parts of the US government -- it's not the kind of debt you tend to think 'debt' means. Finally, having loads of debt is, in my opinion, a good thing -- especially since other countries also owe us loads of money. Being financially entangled puts us in the fantastic position of making it really inconvenient to go to war. The more our economies are intertwined around the world, the more we have to get along with each other. If you think that's bad, I think you are centuries out of date, politically.
UPDATE 5:34 businessinsider -- the vote is expected for around 9:30.