All I can say is don’t expect me to get too worked up about this fiscal cliff we are perched on.  This ain’t my first fiscal cliff.  I’ve been jumping these gullies all my life.  So, all this hoopla about doom and destruction just doesn’t get me too excited.  I’ve resigned myself to believe it’s just business as usual.

Linda and I got married as a couple of enthusiastic teenagers.  We were excited about playing house and chasing the American Dream.  Our only problem was we had no idea in which way we should scamper.  So it seems we just merrily ran around in circles for the first few years.  It took a couple of them to discover a couple of cold hard facts.  First, there ain’t no free lunch in America.  And Secondly, somebody always has their hand out for that paycheck you just put in your billfold.  Neither of our families were wealthy.  We came from solid middle class stock where you budgeted every month to assure your money lasted longer than the month did.

Now, it wasn’t a fiscal cliff which would be touted by the media, but it was pretty substantial to us when we faced the last week in the month and we had a balance of $6.52 left in the checking account, with no savings account to draw on.  Somehow we seemed to always scrape through. And so it wasn’t at all surprising that over a period of time we availed ourselves to the generosity of the retail and banking community and made some purchases on credit for simple items that we deemed necessary for human existence, like a television and in one case a fancy set of glasses with a “B” etched in the glass. 

This ‘perchmanship’ reveals a truth for those perched on the fiscal cliff.  You stand there long enough you do stupid stuff just to ease the misery and monotony of the stand.  Our debt increased.  And so we learned at an early age in our marriage what it meant to build a cloud of debt over you.  Time and again we spent countless hours debating who would be paid and who could be delayed.  Of course the delays always came at a cost.  However, everyone was paid what was due—always.

Over the years my worth in the workforce increased to enable us to escape the debt cloud; however, it was no easy feat.  But, by that time I had found a new perch.  I began a new business on a shoestring budget.  I must affirm now that the federal government is not conducive to small businesses succeeding.  The fact that most small businesses fail within the first five years is accurate.  I found myself often standing on that fiscal cliff, staring into the abyss, as I negotiated the payment of corporate tax, personal property tax, social security withholdings, workman’s compensation tax, FICA, and employee insurance.  After all the taxes were paid, the insurance satisfied, and the payroll distributed, there were often times when there was very little left for me and my family.

Fortunately, my company did relatively well and we survived the five-year hurdle for small businesses.  It was a breath of fresh air to not perch on the fiscal cliff for several years.  But all things have a way of compensating.  It seems as if a life filled with too much happiness will be dealt a little sadness.  And, hopefully, a life of sadness will sometimes encounter a little happiness.  This probably includes our fiscal health as well.  Due to a quadruple heart by-pass, downsizing of the firm, attainment of the retirement age of 65, and a really lousy economy, visions of the fiscal cliff once again entered the picture.  Fortunately the good times have provided a buffer this time.

So now our government leaders are all scurrying around like ‘Chicken Little’ yelling, “The sky is falling; the sky is falling!”

So what?  This ain’t the first time; and is ain’t gonna be the last!  Sure, the economy stinks; the value of my home (which I paid off) is less than the amount I invested, the cost of gas is high and getting higher, property taxes and insurance almost makes it a bad financial position to own your own home,  and any Social Security I draw will only qualify me for the poverty level.  Go ahead Dems and GOP jump over that dang cliff!  It’s not going to matter to me.  I will survive.  It may not be in the style I dreamed it could be; but, we will be happy nevertheless—always have been.  We will survive.  Who knows—we may find the fiscal cliff isn’t a cliff at all, but rather a long gentle slope.  Even so, I’m not looking forward to the slide down that slope.  But, I’m not afraid of it either.

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Comment by Zanelle on December 31, 2012 at 10:54am

Well said....almost makes me want to be poor to just skate by and not have the threat of anything being taken away.  You have had a wonderful life and I am so glad you wrote about it and I know you will keep on going just fine.  Me too.  It is my kids I feel sorry for.  Hopefully I raised them to know life is about more than money but when there is no money it gets scary.  sigh...hang on.

Comment by Dan C. Boutwell on December 31, 2012 at 11:07am

Zanelle: Yup, it ought to be an interesting ride.  I just hope, as you do, that my kids are equipped to handle it.  But, I worry about the grandkids who are born into an age of gadgets and "things".  It all cost money, and they have very little self-control, especially when everyone else has what they want.

Comment by David McClain on December 31, 2012 at 12:52pm

Dan I heartedly agree with you old friend.  As for me and Mel, well when ya live way down low on the cliff, you don't have to fear falling any great distance. My kids will have it worse, but then I taught each of them to live on less and be content....they'll be fine too.

Comment by Dan C. Boutwell on January 2, 2013 at 9:14am

Hey, David!  Mornin' to ya!  Man, I'm getting tired of politicians.  You know it makes a fella want to sneak up and push as many of them over the dang cliff as you can sneak up on.  Only thing is--they've arranged for someone to catch them....don't think they give a flip about the rest of us.

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