Business

10 People Who Led Us To The Fiscal Cliff

FILE- This Nov. 11, 2000 file photo shows then Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. George W. Bush and running mate Dick Cheney walk down a dirt road to meet with reporters, followed by Bush's dog Spot, near Crawford, Texas. For the new book “Pets at the White House,” Dallas author Jennifer Boswell Pickens interviewed everyone from first family members to White House staffers to give readers a glimpse at what life is like at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for pets and what those pets have meant to their famous owners. (AP Photo/Eric Draper, file)
FILE- This Nov. 11, 2000 file photo shows then Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. George W. Bush and running mate Dick Cheney walk down a dirt road to meet with reporters, followed by Bush's dog Spot, near Crawford, Texas. For the new book “Pets at the White House,” Dallas author Jennifer Boswell Pickens interviewed everyone from first family members to White House staffers to give readers a glimpse at what life is like at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for pets and what those pets have meant to their famous owners. (AP Photo/Eric Draper, file)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — With our political leaders locked in a fiscal struggle that threatens to throw the economy off a so-called cliff and into recession, you might be wondering how we got to this place.

Remember that this supposed fiscal cliff is the direct result of two contradictory impulses in American life: Greed and guilt. Greed for low taxes, a strong military, a strong safety net and lots of government spending for everyone. And guilt that we weren’t paying our way. Read “Stop calling it a ‘fiscal cliff’”

All of us (or almost all) had a role in this melodrama, either benefiting from the spending or from the lower tax rates. Despite our culpability, it took strong national leaders to foster the heady mix of greed and guilt that brought us to this spot.

Here are the 10 people most responsible for bringing us to the edge of the fiscal cliff:

People Who Led Us To The 'Fiscal Cliff'