CNN PRODUCER NOTE lelaladd, a self-employed insurance agent in McCook, Nebraska, says her family is living frugally, anticipating future tax increases. She and her husband are not exchanging Christmas gifts this year, and the couple has three children and eight grandchildren -- each of whom will receive only one gift each from them this year.
- dsashin, CNN iReport producer
The solution should be structured without input from lobbyists. No matter what you cut, there will be people against it. We need leaders who do the hard thing without compromise due to special interests in their lives/constituents. We need to close tax loopholes (not all - keep the mortgage and charitable giving, for example) and simplify the tax code by having a flat tax for all to pay a fair share. We should cut government to live within our means - getting rid of czars and departments that can be handled at a state level. We need to repeal Obamacare and put in a health system overhaul that won't bankrupt our citizens - NOW. We need to have tort reform that takes the teeth out of lawsuits, driving the insurance and health industry costs through the roof. We need to reform welfare - ENCOURAGING people who can work to supplement their welfare with jobs. We currently take away benefits if they earn money and this just promotes poverty. People who are able to work and are collecting assistance should be required to work at jobs for government (cleaning highways, janitorial jobs, etc) to help pay back what they receive. We need common sense most of all. We are a nation of "what's in it for me" first and foremost and all other takes a back seat. Congress should only get paid after the system is fixed. Make them have the same benefits, at the same cost, as the rest of the employees - with no lifetime retirement benefits because we will limit their terms to two maximum. If we limit terms we will limit lobbyists because the temptation to build a nestegg off the goverment service will be taken away. We need mediation experts in the meetings between Democrats and Republicans - that can help them agree and move on common ground - working out the differences as they go, not as a package deal. This fiscal cliff is only the first that is coming. The healthcare fiscal cliff coming in 2014 will dwarf this one - because unless it is fixed, no one but the rich will be able to afford health care OR the insurance that pays for it. Nothing is for free - it is all gained on the back of the working class and our leaders have forgotten this basic fact. We need a nation built on values that encourage working and paying our way versus entitlement to what other people have earned. We need to build the character of our nation first and foremost!