We Are Pawns in Obama's Fiscal Cliff Game
Politicians playing chicken not only with people's jobs and livelihoods, but their mental and, quite possibly as a result, physical well-being.
It angers me.
This isn't the NHL lockout where the two sides can play "politics," stall and stalemate in a battle of egos.
The impact of something as relatively insignificant as a hockey work stoppage drives home the magnitude of what the fiscal cliff can do to Americans -- and people around the globe -- even if we never jump off of it.
With no hockey, middle-of-the-road wage earners get hurt.
In the grand scheme of things, it's not that big of a deal if Molson Coors (TAP) sees a decline in Canadian revenue.
However, don't tell that to the guy who works at a brewery in St. Johns, Newfoundland or Moncton, New Brunswick. The guy who might lose his job -- and if he lived in the United States, his health insurance -- when Molson Coors reduces staff.
As usual, Twitter broadcasts opinions and fuels emotion. One of TheStreet's Real Money contributors, Kate Stalter and CNBC personality Carl Quintanilla posted pretty simple, but effective Tweets. Both go a long way to explaining this spectacle.
It is very Y2K, in that it will likely end up being all of this for nothing. But, with Y2K, like a hockey lockout, it didn't matter quite as much to nearly as many people.
No hockey, we buy less beer.
No Y2K, no problem. You have a few extra cans of beans in your pantry. If you're really extreme, you bought some special computer software, unplugged your VCR and maybe built a bunker in the background.
But this fiscal cliff is real.
Yet, it's treated just like any other less meaningful crisis. Sure, I think it will pass, but what if it doesn't? Then what?
I suspect my life will go on. But I live in a bubble. While not necessarily "affluent" myself, I live in one of the most affluent parts of Southern California. Life will barely change in my community no matter what happens with the fiscal cliff.
Same for much of the San Francisco Bay Area, Manhattan, Boston, Seattle and other places with tony urban and isolated suburban neighborhoods where people don't even think twice about spending thousands a month on rent, "buying" a house for millions of dollars and going out to eat dinner every other night.
Sure, the capital gains tax might make some rich dude in Santa Monica sell his house prematurely, but there will be another wealthy soul there to buy it above asking price. Maybe the same person puts off the BMW purchase when his lease expires, opting to keep the 2010 model by paying the balance.