Moving away from the cliff

Dec. 09, 2012 @ 04:48 PM

My fellow Americans, the only way this nation can avoid fiscal disaster is to stop using the word fiscal all the time. 
What’s the matter with good old-fashioned American words that everybody uses and understands? Why can’t we just say financial? What about economic? Doesn’t fiscal sound like it has to do with a visit to the doctor, maybe even a specialist?
If you say it quickly three times in a row, doesn’t it make people in the checkout line at the supermarket look at you funny?
Plus, our fiscal reserves are growing short. Despite an increase in off-shore word retrieval and the use of alternative spellings, the days of low-cost clichés are coming to an end.
Because of this looming shortfall, we have been forced to import odd-sounding, multi-syllabic words — like filibuster, which is the Greek word for eggplant — from unstable parts of the world where they use the subjunctive mood and even have three different words for saying “you.”  Do we want the Greeks or the Chinese to own all our words?
Worse than that, we have continued to borrow made-up words from the future — like Instagram and Pinterest — that our children will eventually have to pay back at what will probably be exorbitant rates of interest. And most of our children will be too busy texting to figure out what those rates are.
This is not the right path for America. If this continues, and we don’t have our GPS, we will get perilously close to falling off the fiscal cliff. This could happen even if we call it a financial hill, although that doesn’t sound nearly as treacherous and is likely only to mean cuts and scrapes.
Time is running out. Beginning on Jan. 1 of the new year, some of us who still write checks may have to remember to write checks that say 2013. This could prove disastrous for the American economy and could lead to across-the-board check-writing cuts.
So we must forge a compromise. Both sides must realize that neither side can get everything it wants, particularly if there’s no place to put it because the garage is jammed and the trunk of the car is already full with folding beach chairs that we haven’t used in seven years.
I remain willing to meet with the opposition and discuss my proposal to avoid this disaster as soon as I can come up with an actual proposal.
But let me be clear about one thing: Any new agreement must include lowering the age limit for getting reduced-price airline tickets. After all, why do travel websites ask for your age range when you’re booking a ticket if they don’t intend to give you a better deal because of it?
Neil Offen can be reached at noffen@heraldsun.com or call 919-419-6646.