Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY)
BUFFALO, N.Y. - Any fiscal cliff compromise is likely to be a short-term fix that will include both good news and bad news for the region.
The good news is that a deal on Capitol Hill should stop deep budget cuts in Western New York. For example, according to Congressman Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo), Roswell Park could lose millions in cancer research funding without a fiscal cliff deal. Defense contractors like Moog in East Aurora could lose big government contracts, and the Niagara Falls Air Base could lose funding that will help it develop a critical, new mission.
The bad news comes in the long term because Congress again has failed to make tough decisions to reduce our out-of-control deficit.
"So this is just Congress kicking the can down the road," Higgins said. "But the fact of the matter is, we're out of can and we're out of road."
Financial advisor Tony Ogorek believes the problem is even more serious.
"A lot of people say they're kicking the can, but I really think they're kicking the grandchildren because they are the ones that are going to have to service this debt," Ogorek said.
Ogorek compares our nation's finances to a morbidly obese, 60-year-old smoker -- who requires an immediate intervention.
"We may not have the heart attack today, but it surely is going to come, and I don't know if it's going to come in a month, or in a year, or in five years, but when that happens, it could be catastrophic for our financial markets. It could be catastrophic for interest rates. And it really could change the way all of us are accustomed to living," he said. " It truly is as serious as a heart attack."
REPORTER: When do you think our nation's leaders will have a real serious discussion about long-term spending and entitlements?
HIGGINS: Well, there is a lot of talk here about that, and there's not a lot of action. And each and every time these issues come to the floor, there is a tendency to defer hard decisions. . . I think that people's frustration with Congress is justified. This is why people hate Congress. Everything comes down to a political deal.
Congressman Higgins said he thinks a deal on the fiscal cliff is necessary to avoid a recession, but he says he would prefer a bi-partisan bill that deals with the deficit but also invests more money in infrastructure and research.