'Twas the night
before Cliff-mas, and all through the House
Not a member was working, no ideal to espouse;
Their offices closed, the members all gone,
No solution for a budget plan had yet to be drawn.
Our Congress had
spent a year feuding again,
While uncertainty and poor growth plagued businessmen;
The economy had slowed, unemployment was high,
Things weren’t looking up for a taxpayer, like I.
On December 31st tax
rates were scheduled to rise,
Which many agreed was not in itself wise.
With this, another date caught the country’s fiscal
The second of January was set for across-the-board
I’d heard all the
talk, all the senators saying,
“If we’re spending this much, someone has to be paying!”
The rhetoric from the news droned on in my head,
As I turned off my light, and crawled into bed.
When out on the Mall
there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
It was the President! His sudden arrival was thrilling,
He went after the Congress, he called them by building:
“Now, Senate! Now,
Hart! Now, Russell and Dirksen!
On House! on Rayburn! on, Longworth and Cannon!
The fiscal cliff is approaching! We need to make cuts!
Bad policy and spending got us into this rut!”
Out came the
lawmakers, their cheeks from sleep rosy,
I saw Boehner, Reid, McConnell and Pelosi;
They gathered together, their eyes straight ahead,
Some seemed optimistic, as the president said:
“We need to end this
uncertainty, if we are to stay strong,
I know we can do it, if we all get along.
We won’t hurt the middle class, we’ll raise taxes on the
It’s right for everyone to pay a fair share to keep our
Reid stepped up as
well, his voice rather hoarse,
“We know that we need to include a few cuts, of course.
This deficit spending hurts our economy in the long-run,
But for now, raising some taxes will help everyone!”
“Now hold on one
minute,” Boehner said with a sigh,
“You know the tax increase you propose is too high!
The wealthy you speak of—they aren’t you and me;
They’re middle-class, and small business owners you
“You won’t close the
tax loopholes, you won’t lower our debt!
You’ll create a situation where new investors will
We need tax reform, to resolve all this clutter!”
He stepped back with a nod—the crowd started to mutter.
Was he right? Was it
true? Could reform solve it all?
Or would a tax hike spur investment and keep us from a
It was the same talk I’d heard, the same from before—
So I ran down the stairs, and I opened the door:
“You say you’ll
manage the tax code, and cut wasteful spending,
But it’s these political struggles that keep our economy
We need real reform, not this spending obsession;
‘Else this cliff should put us in another recession!”