Once we cut through the campaign rhetoric, what we are left with is the paradox of a voting public which wants to maintain government benefits but want someone else (the "rich") to pay for them. Sorry, but the math just doesn't work out. Reality has to be embraced in the near future, and the sooner the better. That reality is that benefits are going to have to be cut and taxes raised on everybody just to keep our heads above water. Isn't that what the Fiscal Cliff was designed to do? The idea of sparing the middle class from any tax increases is financially ludicrous. Even with complete elimination of all of the Bush tax cuts and the automatic spending cuts, we will still be digging ourselves deeper and deeper into debt. In addition to these modest Fiscal Cliff provisions, we need to restore the SS tax cuts, eliminate the SS earnings cap and suspend all cost-of-living adjustments to government programs. Yes, the economy will take a hit in the short run, but fiscal reform and tax certainty would provide a huge boost to business investment and hiring in the long run. This may be our last chance to prevent a permanent decline in the American standard of living.