Is the fiscal cliff the first in a never ending series of crises facing America?
Can we really address the fiscal cliff without addressing our structural problems? We have a ballooning deficit that will result in a very real loss of discretionary spending by the middle and lower classes as more money goes to pay the interest on the debt. If our credit rating drops the cost of borrowing will increase dramatically exacerbating the situation.
More advanced medical procedures will result in a greater strain on Medicare and a higher percentage of our income going to health care---meanwhile Medicare is going bankrupt; we must either raise taxes, curb benefits or balloon the deficit. Add to this the grey "tsunami" rampant autism and obesity and healthcare costs can only rise dramatically.
Cheap carbon fuels, coal and natural gas will add to climate change. Water battles between states are apt to increase as population increases but the water doesn't.
A nuclear Iran, a rising China, and the persistent threat of terrorism will sap our resources and our will.
A rise in the standard of living will mean the poor will want more "stuff" straining everything from our ocean bounty to a scarcity of rare earth elements. Battles both military and economic may ensue over them.
The pension time bomb has already gone off in Illinois and will be a huge problem for localities in the coming years. Your parents guaranteed payouts they never had to pay for. Unlike Social Security many pension funds are either bankrupt or will require a substantial input from localities resulting in a substantial loss of services.