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National uncertainty clouding local economy

January 3, 2013

Uncertainty continues to plague the American economy and psyche. It will continue to do so until Congress and the president establish a firm path forward. One important step was taken this week when an 11th-hour, bipartisan effort resulted in a package of tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, and in so doing avoided a major tax increase across the majority middle class of taxpayers.

However, we know as a nation we are still living on a diet unsustainably rich in debt. The hardest part of the work - tightening our belts - lies ahead.

Delaware's senior U.S. senator, Sen. Tom Carper, enigmatically voted against the compromise plan that averted a tax increase on the middle class. Had Carper's position been espoused by a majority of his colleagues, most of us would now be facing a significant tax increase this year.

In a statement regarding his vote, Carper said Congress missed an opportunity to approve a grander plan. He wasn't willing to support a measure that didn't go far enough. Carper didn't specify what that grander plan should entail. Unless he just wants to play the obstructionist role already wearying this country from so many different quarters, the senator's dissenting position now obliges him to come forward with specifics for trimming spending.

Our resort economy is improving, but if uncertainty continues to cloud the air in Washington, D.C., we will feel it here at the beach.

Each week that passes without addressing needed spending cuts will make the task more difficult. When Pete duPont was first elected governor of Delaware in 1976, the state's finances were a shambles. He wasted no time in cutting government spending to restore balance.

By the time his first term ended, there had been plenty of time to adjust, the state's economy was much improved and he was re-elected in a landslide. Congress needs to heed that lesson. Tighten the belt now. Let us adjust our diet.

American people are resilient. That kind of effective statesmanship gets rewarded with re-election.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Dave Frederick, sports editor.