Let me finish tonight with something important: It’s about leading this country through a difficult time. It’s about Barack Obama’s job description.
If you read the newspapers, you see the fiscal catastrophe of Greece, the fragile economics of other countries on the periphery of Europe like Portugal, Spain, Ireland, then you’ll see how it’s possible for countries to blow it, to keep running up debt, to keep spending more than they bring in.
Right now the world is looking at us—the whole world. People as far away as Hong Kong, people who have to make sharp decisions about money, and they’re watching to see if we Americans can meet a deadline we set ourselves. Can we do what the arithmetic dictates and meet our own commitments, or can’t we?
I have been alone before in the role I’ve got here. I was out there pretty much alone about these wars with Iraq, with warning about the weaknesses—political weaknesses—of certain Democrats over the years, but this fiscal cliff, I say, is for real. There will be nothing but trouble, deep trouble, if we go over it, even if we get too close to it.
The president has staked out his position. The top needs to have its tax rates brought back to where they were under Clinton. That’s the catalyst. That has to be brought home to the Republicans. They can make the deal now or whenever, but they best make it now. If they make it late, there will be hell to pay for us all, including them.
Do you know who will pay for a failure to do the government’s business by January 1? The people running the government—the politicians. Good politicians don’t take their countries off of cliffs.