Members of The House of Representatives worked past 11 p.m. Tuesday night to pass legislation to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” but many area residents still remained unsatisfied with Congress on Wednesday.
“I think what we did was just a Band-Aid,” Hagerstown resident Marty Tashgy, said. “It did little or nothing to create growth, address deficit spending, or address entitlements.”
The bill maintains tax cuts for individuals making less than $400,000 a year as well as couples making less than $450,000 a year, with those above that threshold seeing their taxes rise from 35 percent to the Clinton-era rate of 39.6 percent. Had Congress not acted, a combination of tax increases and automatic spending cuts would have affected the entire country, which many economic experts say could have driven the country back into recession.
“I’m glad they finally came to a compromise, but it seems like every time something comes up, it’s down to the last minute,” said Brent Kershner, 37, of Big Pool. “We rely on our government to make decisions for us, but it’s just fighting and bickering between the two parties, and it shows a lack of responsibility as far as I’m concerned.”
Despite approving the measure, which passed the Senate less than 24 hours before passing the House, representatives agreed to temporarily put off most of the automatic spending cuts to address them at a later date.
Berkeley Springs, W.Va., resident Clarence Snow, 62, said that he is fine with the compromises that were reached in the bill that was passed but added that putting off the spending cuts shows how Congress is a “joke.”
“They keep delaying things instead of working for the people,” he said. “The whole thing is a game to them. They need to get serious.”
“If the media went away, they would get things done, but they’re all posturing for the cameras and microphones now,” said Malek, 48. “Everybody reports on the same thing in this 24-hour news cycle and constant barraging of people.”
“It seems like the Democrats always win whether they’re right or wrong, and here they’re wrong,” she said. “Republicans could’ve done something besides give in to them, but they’re kind of weak. We never do what we should do.”
In addition to the extension of tax cuts, itemized deductions will be capped for individuals making $250,000 and married couples making $300,000, taxes on inherited estates will go up to 40 percent from 35 percent, unemployment insurance will be extended one year for 2 million people, and the alternative minimum tax will be permanently adjusted for inflation. Child Care, tuition and research, and development tax credits were also renewed.
Some area residents, although still showing disappointment over the delaying of spending cuts and addressing the debt ceiling, did say they were fine with the compromises in the bill Tuesday among things that were addressed.
“I’m glad they were able to do what they did because the working people need a break,” said Hagerstown resident Patti Hill, 78. “I think they should tax the rich. I know Obama started out at $250,000, but you can’t always get what you want, and he compromised.”
Dave Hebb, 69, of Hagerstown, also said that raising taxes on people and couples making more than $400,000 and $450,000 was reasonable.
“That seems appropriate as long as it’s not too big a hike,” he said. “But this should’ve been addressed a long time ago. The people in Washington these days live in another world.”