The US still needs to cut its massive spending, writes BOB STALLMAN
The fiscal cliff package approved by the US Congress last week injected a good dose of certainty into our nation's tax policy - even though work remains on tackling the spending side of the ledger.
The measure restored the $5 million exemption level for the estate tax, which was in danger of falling to just $1 million.
On the minus side, the top estate tax rate increased from 35 per cent to 40 per cent.
Permanent capital gains tax provisions that retain lower rates were a positive point, as was the inclusion of enhanced expensing provisions for businesses.
Extension of the 2008 farm bill, however, is little more than a stop-gap measure. We are glad that a measure is in place for most of this year, but we are disappointed that Congress was unable or unwilling to roll a comprehensive five-year farm bill proposal into the fiscal cliff package.
Now, it will be up to the 113th Congress to put a new farm bill in place. We will continue to insist on the kind of reforms that were included in the proposals approved by the Senate and the House Agriculture Committee during the 112th Congress.
As Congress punches in, members already face a huge work order.
While the fiscal cliff package tackled the revenue side of the equation, it did not do enough to cut federal spending in a meaningful way.
Without progress on the spending side, we are on a one-way road to fiscal disaster.
It is our hope that the new Congress will exercise the leadership needed to put our nation on a path toward fiscal responsibility and agricultural innovation and prosperity.
- Bob Stallman is president of the American Farm Bureau