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Negotiating the Fiscal Cliff: Top 10 Mom-Approved Suggestions for Politicians

The “Fiscal Cliff.” It’s all over the news, but what exactly is it? Basically, the lower tax rates we’ve been “enjoying” are about to expire, at the same time that government spending is about to get slashed. The thing is, calling it a “Fiscal Cliff” makes it sound like something we’ve come upon by surprise, like, “OHMYGAH Thelma, we’re about to  drive over a cliff!”

Except, obviously it’s NOT a surprise. The tax cuts were put into place in 2001 and 2003 during the George W. Bush administration, and actually expired in 2010. At that point, they were extended for an additional two years under President Barack Obama.

So, basically politicians have had either two years or eleven years to figure this one out, depending on which way you want to look at it. It’s like when your kid announces that a book report is due tomorrow, and he hasn’t even started reading the book. And the book report was assigned two years ago. Right now Congress is looking around like, “ohhhh…I thought I could just rent the movie?”

As the task master in charge of making sure four children get their homework done every night, I have some suggestions. What we really need is a bunch of moms, and possibly that whip-cracking nanny from Nanny 911, to supervise things a bit. We’ll all stand around the conference table with our arms folded, periodically reminding them to stay focused and show their work.

I mean, I’m only one mom but I’m able to keep two sixth-graders on track with algebra homework, quiz my third-grade on spelling, and help my first-grader count coins while simultaneously making dinner. Imagine how much work politicians could get done if we got a whole bunch of moms together! In fact, Congressional leaders are actually welcome to come sit at my freaking kitchen table if it would help.

Below are my suggestions for how we would keep them on task. Because clearly, some people need to get their rears in gear right now.

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  • 1. Don’t threaten to send them to their rooms. They like that. 1 of 10
    1. Don't threaten to send them to their rooms. They like that.
    As with children, threatening to send them to their rooms/offices isn't going to work. They like that. Threaten to keep them locked in a room together.

    p.s. The room should probably not be this comfy.

    (Photo Credit: White House Photo by Pete Souza)
  • 2. Stop bringing treats into the meeting room. 2 of 10
    2. Stop bringing treats into the meeting room.
    See those cookies on the table? Take 'em away. Every mom has said it. "No treats until you finish your dinner budget."

    (Photo Credit: White House Photo by Pete Souza)
  • 3. Encourage a team approach with matching t-shirts. 3 of 10
    3. Encourage a team approach with matching t-shirts.
    Encourage a bipartisan, team approach by making them matching t-shirts with craft store supplies. Bedazzling is mandatory, obviously. This would probably be a great craft project for Sasha and Malia, since they're on Winter Break and all.

    (Image Credit: You can totally make this shirt at Custom Ink except you'll also need a Bedazzler.)
  • 4. Consider a sticker chart! 4 of 10
    4. Consider a sticker chart!
    Because who ISN'T motivated by gold stars? Ooh, when you get to 10 stars, you can get a prize from the prize box!

    (Image Credit: Joslyn Gray for Babble)
  • 5. Yoink! No Blackberry for you. 5 of 10
    5. Yoink! No Blackberry for you.
    You don't let your kids watch TV while they do homework, right? Take away their Blackberries. "This is obviously too distracting, young man."

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto, with additional nonsense by Joslyn Gray for Babble)
  • 6. Sometimes you need to take a break. 6 of 10
    6. Sometimes you need to take a break.
    My kids sometimes need to take breaks when doing homework. Allow Congress frequent opportunities to listen to "Gangnam Style". Make them do the horsey dance.

    (Photo Credit: Screencap via YouTube; additional nonsense by Joslyn Gray for Babble)
  • 7. Use the potty-training system. 7 of 10
    7. Use the potty-training system.
    Use the potty-training approach. Instead of an M&M, they can earn a cup of coffee for every line item they decide on.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto, with additional nonsense by Joslyn Gray for Babble)
  • 8. Bribe them with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese if they get done before dinner. 8 of 10
    8. Bribe them with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese if they get done before dinner.
    Most productive member of the team gets to jump into the ball pit with Vice President Biden! C'mon, how fun would that be?

    (Photo Credits: iStockphoto, White House photo by Pete Souza)
  • 9. Mom classic: ‘If John Boehner jumped off a fiscal cliff, would you jump too?’ 9 of 10
    9. Mom classic: 'If John Boehner jumped off a fiscal cliff, would you jump too?'
    When they start yammering about what their parties want, interrupt with 'I don't care if Eric Cantor and Nancy Pelosi ARE going to the party. You're not going until you finish your work."

    (Photo Credits: iStockphoto, Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons)
  • 10. Children/Politicians need to learn about consequences. 10 of 10
    10. Children/Politicians need to learn about consequences.
    "If you don't do your chores/manage this economic debacle, you won't get any allowance/campaign contributions." That'll learn 'em.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

Read more from Joslyn on Babble and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow Joslyn on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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