Excerpts from recent Wisconsin editorials

Associated Press Modified: November 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm •  Published: November 12, 2012
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The Post-Crescent, Appleton. Nov. 7, 2012.

Strike a deal now on fiscal cliff

Now that the election's over, we have winners and losers. Change is in the air.

In Washington, however, on old issue is more pressing than anything the next Congress will encounter. Our current senators and representatives have to resolve the so-called "fiscal cliff" by the end of the year. Failure isn't an option.

They must come together during a lame-duck session, which starts Tuesday, to stop the scheduled tax increases and spending cuts. If they don't, an estimated $500 billion will be taken out of economy, which experts say with certainty will trigger another recession.

Unless our lawmakers and president find a way to work together, there will be real consequences for all of us.

These facts should be enough to scare the leaders in our Republican House and Democratic Senate into a quick deal:

— A National Association of Manufacturers report estimates that if the fiscal cliff isn't avoided, six million jobs will be lost, unemployment will top 11 percent and household income will drop 10 percent.

— The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts 9 percent unemployment and that economic growth will decline in the first half of the year.

— Americans will have to pay $400 billion more in taxes, thanks to the expiration of cuts put in place during the George W. Bush presidency.

— There will be more uncertainty on the stock market because investors are weary about the type of deal Congress will strike. The shaky behavior the stock market displayed Wednesday will only worsen.

On the day after the election, it was encouraging to hear House Speaker John Boehner say, "Let's challenge ourselves to find the common ground that has eluded us." We hope other politicians — both Democrats and Republicans — keep that spirit of cooperation in mind.

With the stability of the economy on the line, our lawmakers know they have to do the right thing. They know the time for political gamesmanship is over.

____

Beloit Daily News. Nov. 7, 2012.

And now, time to compromise

After more than two years of nonstop campaigning; after flooding the airwaves with ugly, negative messages on both sides; after spending more than $6 billion, nearly half on the presidential race; after an unprecedented injection of money by shadowy outside groups, much it dark money from undisclosed donors; the end result is ...

The status quo.

Barack Obama remains in the White House for another four years.

Republicans remain in control of the House of Representatives.

Democrats remain in control of the Senate.

There will be sighs of relief from Obama supporters and moans of despair from Romney advocates. But this morning, on Nov. 7, the sun still rose in the east and spread its light across the greatest nation in the world.

This is not an apocalyptic moment. The United States is bigger than any one man or any political party, because it is the sum of its people, not its politicians. In the aftermath of a hotly contested election it's understandable there are bruised feelings. Yet the nature of a democratic society is that the people, at the ballot box, settle their disputes and move forward.

So the real question is this: What now?

There are two potential paths for a government that remains divided — and a country that is nearly equally divided.

The two political parties could continue to block everything either side wants to do, thereby accomplishing exactly nothing. The ideological firebrands on both sides may prefer that.

Or, the two sides could read the election results for what they are, a message from the electorate that neither party is trusted by the people with full control of the government. The people want the political class to spend less energy squabbling and posturing, and put more effort into finding middle ground and forging the kind of compromise required to solve problems.

In the minds of the people, it's not about who gets to wield power. It's about whether the government can end the dysfunction and begin a more orderly process of fixing the enormous problems facing the nation.

Those problems and challenges are not mysteries. Jobs. A more robust economy. The looming "fiscal cliff." Deficits and debt. Entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare — with unsustainable finances and demographics. The threat of terror in a dangerous world, particularly in the volatile Middle East. A shaky education system. The need for energy independence. For climate change strategy. For direction to preserve America's leadership in the 21st Century.

The primary obstacle is politics, and the propensity of politicians to put party and power above the national interest. In a divided government the only way forward is compromise. If either party fails to work in good faith toward finding common purpose, that party will earn the scorn and punishment of the people, who are fed up with dysfunction and discord.

It's over. And it's time to begin anew, to move the country forward by giving the people a government they can trust and be proud of.

____

Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire. Nov. 7, 2012.

'Work together' is message of election



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