Perils of last-minute decision making - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Perils of last-minute decision making

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

In his illustrious cartoon career, the eternally doomed Wile E. Coyote had the amazing good fortune of managing to survive after falling off cliffs time and again.

While he was the master of physically bone-jarring calamity, the deadline to reach a Congressional compromise on trying to keep the nation from falling over its own dreaded fiscal cliff is speeding along even faster than Wile E.'s nemesis, The Road Runner.

At stake, hundreds of millions in automatic tax increases and spending cuts will go into effect at midnight Jan. 2, thereby increasing the odds of a new economic recession. Last week's post-election compromise rhetoric is already started to harden toward the familiar tones of gridlock.

MORE: Obama: Americans agree with my approach on deficit

"There's mandate for higher taxes on the people that can afford it and for a combination of revenue and cuts," said U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), who attended Monday's Veterans Day luncheon. "That's what President Obama ran on. That's what Senate Democrats ran on. That's what the House Democrats ran on."

"What the Democrats are proposing today is an entirely avoidable high stakes game of chicken, with the single-minded goal of taking money from those who earn it for government to waste," countered U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).

But, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn), who earlier this year spoke with Shelby County business leaders about the economy and the deficit, told FOX13 News by phone on Monday, in conversations with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, a long term solution to attacking the mountainous deficit is possible if it addresses two key issues.

"Let's close those loopholes for wealthier citizens like myself and others," Sen. Corker said. "When you do that you can keep rates where they are. But you generate a lot of revenue by closing those loopholes."

"In 1976 the upper one percent had eight percent of the wealth," countered Rep. Cohen. "Now the upper one percent control 24 percent of the wealth. It's absurd to think they cannot and should not pay more taxes."

"The other part is what we're going to do with entitlements and the biggest piece there is Medicare. So, there's a "Ying and a Yang" to this," Sen. Corker added.
 
While Congressman Cohen and U.S. Sen. Corker both want to take roles in attaining a compromise solution, both recognize the spotlight falls squarely on the shoulders of House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Barack Obama to get a deal done.

"Speaker Boehner has an opportunity this term, and particularly this issue, to be a leader," Rep. Cohen said. "That's what the Speaker of the House has to do. We're going to be very, very active in this. But, the two most important players by far are the President and Speaker Bohener in the House. I think if they can come to an agreement then we will deal with this by year's end."

As Wile E. Coyote can attest to, falling over any cliff, can really hurt.

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