Congress heads to the beach (but forgot to take care of business first)
It was no surprise to me this year when Congress decided to adjourn before really taking action on any of our biggest economic concerns. Personally, I wouldn't consider this break a “hard-earned” vacation.
There was no farm bill, no decisions on our soon-to-expire tax breaks (Jan. 1, 2013) and no new ideas on the automatic budget cuts to the Pentagon and domestic programs set to go off Jan. 1, 2013. All this after passing a temporary patch that allows spending at the current, yet unsustainable, levels through the first part of next year (which means no rematch over the debt ceiling this fall).
Our elected leaders seem unable to do what is best for this country or actually make some headway in correcting what is stretching out to be a decade of bad economic times. Allowing the tax breaks to expire could divert much needed money currently funneling into our economy into the hands our government.
Not taking a stand on spending is just pushing us further and further into debt. In fact, our deficit this year is larger than the total deficits of the first 200 years of our country combined. We need Congress to take a hard look at our spending and make the cuts that are necessary to get us out of this spending spree.
That uneasy feeling we all are having concerning our financial state will continue, as our elected legislators refuse to legislate. There is no reason for these items to be unresolved for so long, considering that each and every one of these issues existed at the beginning of the year.
To either not address them, or to simply provide a multimonth solution that only delays the problem, does absolutely nothing for investors, consumers or business owners who need to know the rules of the game in order to plan for the future. I believe that if Congress members really want to know what is holding back our economy, they can simply look in the mirror for part of the answer.
Joe Wirbick is president of Lancaster financial services firm Sequinox and specializes in retirement planning and distribution. This allows him to concentrate on developing strategies that help address the unique issues that confront retirees and those approaching retirement.