By TOM HONIG
I've written the same thing so many times that it keeps me from updating this blog very often. But with the new year -- hey -- why not?
Don't blame the politicians. Even those who serve in the sideshow otherwise known as the U.S. House of Representatives. Blame us. Most of us, anyway -- those who want a lot of government services and want someone else to pay for it.
The so-called budget deal achieved nothing. Go ahead -- tax the wealthy if you want. Just realize that it doesn't solve anything except making you feel better about not owning yachts and vacationing on private islands.
Don't take it from me. Here's a great explanation from Charles Babington of the Associated Press: "Cliff Deal is Another No-Pain Punt.
It feels almost quaint to suggest an AP story in this day of hyper-opinionated journalism ranging from Fox News to Paul Krugman. But this Babington has it right -- he says the fiscal cliff deal "is the latest in a long series of decisions by lawmakers and the White House to do less than promised - and to ask Americans for little sacrifice - in confronting the nation's burgeoning debt."
What Americans are doing, essentially, is putting off hard decisions on the next generation. You know, those young people who are having trouble finding good jobs, affordable housing and even decent health care. But the general voting public, urged on by politicians, lobbyists and media stars continue to believe that government benefits don't have to be paid for -- or can be paid by someone else.
As Anderson Cooper might say about the Baby Boom Generation (and I know; I'm one of them): "The fact is, they're selfish. Always have been. Always will be."
ADDENDUM: Two Washington journalists from The Wall Street Journal, David Wessel and Gerald Seib, have published a helpful graph right here of how the new law affects the deficit. Yes -- annual deficits remain over $1 trillion with no end in sight.