Any politician who believes sending the nation off the "fiscal cliff" is a smart strategy deserves to be thrown into an electoral abyss.
Fortunately, saner heads seem to be gaining ground days after some congressional Democrats said that allowing the nation to undergo spending cuts and tax increases on Jan. 1 might be a good strategy to gain an advantage in negotiations.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and some other Democrats have suggested their party leaders should hold off on trying to reach a budget deal until next year in hopes of bringing additional leverage against Republicans.
Murray and company believe Republicans would take the biggest blame for a failure to reach a deal. Voters should make sure she and others in Congress know otherwise.
For months, warnings have been issued about the ramifications of failure to come to an agreement to cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion as required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Economists have warned the automatic tax increases and spending cuts mandated without a budget deal could send the nation into another recession.
That would be bad news for millions of Americans who still are trying to crawl back financially from the Great Recession.
While the economy has improved, it's running more like a fouled, two-cycle motor rather than the finely tuned performance engine we need. With Europe expected to go into recession and other headwinds, the U.S. economy already is facing challenges.
That will only worsen if all of the Bush-era tax cuts are repealed and across-the-board spending cuts are implemented as required by current law.
This means nearly every American will see less money in their paychecks because of higher taxes. In addition, the spending cuts - dubbed sequestration - could mean more layoffs. Half of the $109 billion in spending cuts would come from defense with the rest from domestic spending.
While we believe there is enough fat so that federal spending can be cut, reductions should be targeted, not hacked off with a meat cleaver.
The White House Office of Management and Budget has released a report stating that sequestration will result in cuts of 9.4 percent to non-exempt defense discretionary funding, 8.2 percent to non-exempt nondefense discretionary funding, 2 percent to Medicare, 7.6 percent to other non-exempt nondefense mandatory programs and 10 percent to non-exempt defense mandatory programs.
On Friday, officials from both parties were sounding a more optimistic tone that a budget deal could be reached before the end of the year.
Reaching a compromise still will require considerable work, and it's important that Americans keep the pressure on both parties to come to an agreement.
Coming out of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, our nation needs time to heal, not more injury because it was thrown off a cliff for political gamesmanship.