The fiscal cliff reminded me of the Y2K crisis of 13 years ago. The manufactured suspense. The dire predictions. The deadline is coming! We’re going to hit the wall! Self-important media types were explaining the looming danger to the credulous rubes. And then, when the mighty climax finally came – pffft. Nothing. Just kidding. All those of you who thought Washington politicians were going to use the fiscal cliff to begin real fiscal reform can go back into your cocoons now. It was the same old, same old. Raise taxes now and we’ll cut spending later. Really, we promise. We must look stupid. This was the same deal made with Bush 41 and with Reagan. They even got it in writing, but the cuts somehow never happened. This was the basis of the last debt ceiling agreement and countless other negotiations. Now Obama and the R’s agree: we’ll cut spending next time. Why would anyone believe that? Nothing will have changed when the next debt ceiling talks take place. Obama will still be president, the Senate will still be in a blocking position and the House leadership will still be clueless. Demagogues will be on standby ready to pounce on anyone who breathes a word of even the most modest reform of middle-class entitlements. Obama will talk his usual good game but, as my mother told me, deeds speak louder than words. Watch for that famous can to get yet another kick down the road.
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Bio: Patterson is the volunteer chairman of the Goldwater Institute and past chairman of the Arizona Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
He has served on several community boards, including Goodwill of Central Arizona, Diamondbacks Foundation and Hospice of the Valley.
He is the state chairman for Americans for Tax Reform. Previously, he served as the President of the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council (public sector chair). He was the minority leader (91-92) and majority leader (93-96) of the Arizona Senate.
He is a registered Republican but not politically active. In addition, he was the organizer and lead tenor of the original Arizona Singing Senators.