It seems somehow deliciously poetic that President Barack Obama plans a trip to the maker of parts for the Angry Birds Building Set in an attempt to sell his plan for avoiding the fiscal nightmare that political intransigence would bring to the nation in 2013.
There are, after all, plenty of "angry birds" in Washington after this month's national election, and Obama must work with at least some of them to fashion a deal by Jan. 1 to avoid triggers that will automatically raise taxes across the board and impose dramatic spending cuts on both defense and domestic programs.
The president is planning a road trip Friday to Hatfield, Pa., a small hamlet outside of Philadelphia. On that trip he plans to visit The Rodon Group manufacturing facility.
Apparently Obama hopes to spotlight the firm as an example of a business that depends on middle-class consumers during the holiday season. The company manufactures parts for K'Nex Brands, a construction toy company whose products include Angry Birds Building Sets, Tinkertoy and K'Nex Building Sets.
The trip is part of a larger strategy to put pressure on congressional Republicans to go along with Obama's plan to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of the year, but only to those making under $250,000.
Republicans who heretofore have steadfastly maintained that the nation's fiscal morass could only be bettered by cutting government have begun to send signals
So far, they favor cutting tax loopholes rather than raising taxes on the wealthy.
Although we are not sage enough to predict the exact elements in the final deal the president makes with Republicans, we remain confident that there will, in fact, be a deal.
We believe that there is simply too much to lose on both sides for inaction, which makes this an instance that will transcend the usual Washington gridlock games.
Republicans know that imposing gridlock on this debate -- which they could do because of their majority in the House -- will cause, among other things, dramatic cuts in the budget of the Department of Defense. That is an action that is anathema to nearly every Republican member of Congress.
It also would raise taxes across the board on everyone who benefitted from the Bush tax cuts, which is an awful lot of middle-class people. We doubt very seriously that either party wants to be painted with that brush.
Finally, there is the virtual certainty that the imposed trigger cuts would devastate the nation's limping economy. We think the cuts would almost certainly plunge the country back into a recession, and we are confident that neither party would want such blood on its hands.
We will have such public stunts as Obama's trip Friday, which will no doubt be countered by something similar from the GOP, until a deal is reached. Unfortunately, politics being what it is, that deal is likely to be made precariously close to the deadline. We would prefer that our leaders save us the theatrics and get a deal done sooner rather than later.