Saturday, November 24, 2012

Going Over the Fiscal Cliff, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah

The fiscal cliff was looming and the world held its breath. The Assembly was deadlocked, frozen, and nothing was getting done. In a few days, the country was going over the edge… into the abyss.
           The two major sides battled hopelessly.  The Republicans wanted to reduce taxes, claiming this would stimulate innovation and output, a rising tide raises all boats.
           The Leader, who had just been re-elected, demanded a tax increase. The polls told him that 60% agreed with his policy. Without majority support, the Congress could not act.
           No matter how much the citizens demanded action, the representatives postured and fulminated. The moment of reckoning came when they announced another extended holiday in order to touch base with the folks back home.
           Out of the blue came the citizens, they captured the representatives and loaded them on buses. They drove to a remote, high plateau in the Southwest where there were two curious rock formations facing each other, sacred Anasazi ceremonial table rocks with precipitous fall offs. Here the ancient tribes would sacrifice their most able to appease the spirits in the hope of good tidings.
            There in the twilight, the people loaded the members into cars, four to a car, a procession of 133 cars. They ran the cars over the sheer face of the larger rock formation.The representatives were outraged, banging on the car windows and even vowing to change their positions, compromise.
             One by one the cars went over, sailing into the empty void. They pounded on the car windows in panic. The more resolute held firm: taxes must go up. Some suggested alternative ways to increase revenues…..the perfect should not be the enemy of the good.
             In one car, a window was lowered and a pink-face socialist representative sputtered furiously. The onlookers only caught his words, “…millionaires and billionaires.” in the chill night.                
             Another captive was able to lower his window, waving his arms frantically as his car went over the rim. He was a rising star, one of the so called young guns and he shouted, “I am not a wack job”, as his car plummeted into the darkness.
             Next a patrician woman with an unctuous smile pushed a thick, heavy document out of the window and shouted: “Here’s the deal, but we have to pass it before we know what’s in it.”
             But there was no reprieve, no amnesty and each car went down the runway, out over the cliff. The parade lasted through the night until the process was over, leaving a pile of twisted debris at the rocky bottom.
             To everyone’s amazement, the earth did not stand still. The world did breathe again and the citizens convened a more congenial group.  A deal was quickly struck.
             Today the country is a model of sustainable economic growth and the contentious period just a bad memory.
             Table Rock in the remote national park is now a hallowed place of pilgrimage. Families come from far and wide to gaze in awe and reverence at that most holy of holies, the Fiscal Cliff.

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