A partial solution for "The Fiscal Cliff" would be for ALL Congresscritters to jump over it. by way of apologizing for their incompetence. A few got replaced, but too many came back ... Congress is far better at assuring their re-election than doing anything for the people they purport to represent. These guys (and a few gals) take more vacations than any citizen, haven't passed a budget in years, and really don't give a rat's patootie for the future of the Nation.
Debt per person in 1990: $13,000
Debt per person in 2000: $20,162
These are based on Treasury reports (Fiscal years ending September 30) and the US Census reports that purport to be accurate as of April Fools' Day (April 1) of the years in which they are prepared.
Please keep in mind that the debt "per person" includes children one year of age. My family of four owes $175,696; our Gummint basically bought a house, and left us with the mortgage. No problem: the kids will pay it, even if only CongressCritters can live in the house.
Constitutionally, it may come as a surprise to some that the President can't spend money that the Congress hasn't appropriated. And tax laws must originate in the House.
I'm sorry, but we (the Publick) have let our Senators and Representatives (CongressCritters) spend money far too long without paying for what they've spent. Now, we have to pay the bill.
It is time to take some responsibility. This is a moral basis of the Conservative movement.
Own up to the fact that ALL parties have spent more than Congress ever had, and that WE, The People are responsible for paying for the mess we let Congress create.
Our US Fiscal Year 2012 ended September 30, and total revenues for the entire government, from all sources, totalled $2.449 Trillion.
If we were able to magically SHUT DOWN THE ENTIRE GOVERMENT, fire every employee (including Congress, the Military, and all the alphabet soup of Federal agencies) and somehow retain that annual revenue, it would take almost seven years to pay off the debt.
Of course, that can't be done. BUT we can try to pay the debt down, and unfortunately that can can only be done by raising taxes. We let Congress build up the debt; we have the moral responsibility to pay it down.
At the same time, we cannot let Congress continue to spend any more of our non-existent treasury. As a first step, the Republican mantra needs to change from "no new taxes" to "no new spending." No matter how neat the next aircraft carrier looks, or how needy are the unemployed and the retired, or how poor are the doctors and hospitals that treat the sick, we need to at least freeze spending if not reduce it.
As a side note, Federal 2012 revenues were about equal to 2004 Federal spending. Are you better off today than you were in 2004?
PS: The opposite of PROgress is CONgress.