As everyone who pays the least bit of attention has known all year, Congress now has less than two months to get its act together.
The White House and Congress simply must take decisive action to stop the $16 trillion national debt from growing. As West Virginai Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, pointed out before the election, the last time the debt matched the U.S. gross domestic product was right after World War II. Then, the nation was "trying to survive," Manchin noted, adding, "this time it's self-inflicted."
He is absolutely right.
The most immediate immediate concern, though, is the massive tax increase and automatic government spending cuts that will kick in if Congress does not stop them before Jan. 1. Still struggling to cope with the recession, tens of millions of families - and the economy as a whole - cannot cope with higher taxes. And the automatic spending cuts could cripple national security.
We know that President Obama and the House leadership spent time late last week staking out their positions. They need to understand American people do not want to see a chess match. They want to see a bipartisan consensus to curb deficit spending and stop the tax increase.
Regardless of how the election might have turned out, President Barack Obama is and would be president anyway during the "lame-duck session" of Congress. And the same Congress that has been tussling with the president is in charge until the end of the year.
Both sides need to find a way now, before the nation falls off that financial cliff, to act, at last, in the best interests of the American people.