Congress has managed to jump from one political fiscal fight to another for the greater part of 2011.
First, there was the budget debate on how to fund the government for the rest of this year. Then there was the debt-ceiling debate resulting in the U.S. losing its triple-A rating credit. And then, just this week, after three months of deliberation, the bipartisan super committee failed to agree on how to make cuts to the deficit over the next 10 years.
But as the year nears a close our politicians have a few more battles to fight, including extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits and how to fund the government after December 16. Yes, that's right. Start bracing yourself for another round of Russian-roulette over a potential government shutdown.
In regard to the payroll tax and unemployment benefits, "Republicans are open to extending these policies — but they plan to exact a price from Democrats," reports Politico. "Many in the GOP are pushing to make sure that unemployment benefits and the payroll tax holiday are offset and don't add to the deficit, which means another serious battle over where to cut from government spending."
Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain joined The Daily Ticker from the new Celebrity Cruise ship Silhouette to talk about the perils of politics today and what it means for the consumer and business.
"Every consumer today is just befuddled by what is going on in the governments on both sides of the Atlantic," says Fain. "The one thing nobody deals well with is uncertainty. It hurts business. It hurts consumers. It hurts people in their decision-making process."
At Royal Caribbean, people are still booking vacations, but they are waiting much longer to do so. "This continued ping-pong game of 'what's going to happen' makes people less willing to make their decisions, even on a vacation," Fain says.
In terms of making business decisions, the perpetual government uncertainty has made it difficult for Royal Caribbean to commit to capital investments and hiring new employees.
"We are just like anybody else. In times of uncertainty we tend to hunker down, assume the fetal position, turn the electric blanket up to 9 and just wait it out," says Fain.
Watch the video the get his take on government regulation, income inequality and the dire unemployment situation in the U.S.
For more on the perils of government gridlock, see: Nouriel Roubini: Government Gridlock 'Ensures' 2012 Recession