By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Remember the fiscal cliff horror show of last December, when draconian tax hikes and budget cuts were set to kick in unless Congress acted?

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

They avoided some of the worst of the tax hikes and kicked the can down the road on the budget cuts.

But now, we’re about to trip over the can again, as $85 billion in across-the-board cuts are set to take place on March 1st.

I sat in on part of a meeting Monday at Boston Medical Center with Senator Warren, Mayor Menino and some of the region’s top doctors and scientists discussing the negative impact those cuts would have on research, patient care, and a crucial sector of our local economy.

And I completely agree with Senator Warren’s terse assessment of those cuts: “stupid,” she called them.

But is Warren part of the solution, or part of the problem?

First, some context.

Everyone in Washington has known for years that we could not continue with our taxation and spending status quo indefinitely without doing serious damage to ourselves.

For some time we’ve been allowing the biggest slices of our budget pie – defense spending, health-care subsidies, and Social Security obligations – to spiral out of control, even as we tolerated an unfair tax system riddled with loopholes.

Republicans have made defense and taxes their sacred cows; Democrats have insisted nothing serious be done about unfunded entitlements. Both parties have had their own special interests to protect.

Doing anything about any of that has required political courage, and as best I can tell almost no one in Washington has any. The “stupid” cuts that are once again bearing down on us were supposed to force them to grow a spine, but it didn’t take.

Meanwhile, Warren, who quite rightly rails against tax loopholes and corporate welfare, insisted Monday that Social Security and Medicare weren’t part of the overall problem.

When one of our brighter new members is already spouting party-line talking points, is there hope for anything beyond more can-kicking?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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