Americans might be wondering if they are stuck in a Looney Toons cartoon. We technically went over the fiscal cliff at the start of 2013, but just like Daffy or the Road Runner, we’ve yet to begin our descent. We are in that part of the cartoon where the victim hovers in midair, quizzically looking around and waiting for the next calamity.

Our concern is that the so-called fiscal cliff we appear to have avoided is but one in a series of challenges. In other words, Americans may have crawled in midair back to safe ground, a la Daffy Duck, but an ACME safe is headed straight for our collective heads.

It’s expected by March that Washington will commence a fresh set of brinksmanship. This time the argument will be about raising the debt ceiling.

Republicans have signaled they will not raise the debt ceiling unless they extract massive spending cuts from the Obama administration. Not this time, comes the response from the White House. Playing around with the nation defaulting on its debt isn’t something Barack Obama is apparently willing to discuss.

These are proxy fights over a bigger ideological struggle. Should government grow or should it shrink? An even more important question is who will feel the most pain from the shrinking?

Democrats have voiced support for a stronger and smarter government. Its actions have often not matched its rhetoric.

The Republican side says it is dedicated to drastically shrinking government. A closer inspection finds the cutting is highly specific for the GOP. Cuts to the Defense Department are generally off the table. Despite the bluster of the tea partiers, very few on the GOP side want to see Medicare or Social Security on the chopping block.

Don’t expect this cartoon to end any time soon.

Editorial by The Anniston (Ala.) Star

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