No fiscal cliff

It’s a slope:

They put the band back together. The Gang of Six – now a Gang of Eight, with Lamar Alexander and Michael Bennet added to the roster of Crapo, Coburn, Chambliss, Warner, Durbin and Conrad, met in Virginia yesterday, aiming to create a grand bargain of tax increases, spending cuts and vaguely worded “entitlement reforms” (you can call it cuts, it’s OK) that would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years.

The impetus this time is the set of expiring measures known in Washington as the fiscal cliff, which if allowed to expire entirely could throw the economy back into recession.

But the word “cliff” does a lot of work here. If there is a drop-dead date, a point of no return where the unwinding of the damage would be too great, then the sense of urgency generated by the Gang of Eight would make more sense. But it actually doesn’t work that way. The economy won’t fall off a cliff, but amble down a slope, in a way that allows for much more deliberative conversation about the best practices for the economy today, not just in the future.

2 thoughts on “No fiscal cliff

  1. $4 trillion over 10 years is $400 billion a year. That’s a pretty steep slope. If nothing is done we’ll run an $11 trillion dollar deficit in that 10 year period, all things being equal. If the economy continues to improve and more people are employed the additional tax revenues will help make up the $7 trillion dollar gap between the $11 trillion in projeted deficits and the $4 trillion in cuts and tax increases hoped for by the Gang of 8. But something must be done. So the discussion should revolve around : 1) what gets cut and by how much 2) who gets to pay higher taxes now. One thing is for sure. It’s better that the Democrats are in charge of this inevitable process than the Republicans. Which is another reason to vote a straight Democratic ticket in November.

  2. i really enjoy how ignorant, uninformed and focused on ONE (of a myriad) part of the financial problems we face as a nation (and world) “our” politicians are. They’ll do NOTHING about: the price of gasoline (even though we shouldn’t even be using it), climate change (which will end up killing us BEFORE 10 years, the way things are progressing, or should i say degenerating), all the pollution we continue to plague ourselves with (including nuclear waste, plastic, toxic chemicals, CO2, methane, fracking waste water, etc), overpopulation (the root of the whole problem), infrastructure degradation (of which we aren’t keeping up our maintenance), the whole war ideology that drives our (ridiculously stupid) foreign policy, corruption on Wall Street, the TBTF banks, the fact that they’re ruining our currency, making health care impossible, corporate dominance, and the continuing decline in standards of living (there are soooo many more and they’re all interconnected).

    There is no fixing what we’ve gotten ourselves in to at this point and it’s become almost obvious (if you’re paying any attention at all) that civilization is collapsing and that the human species is on its way out BY OUR OWN HAND! We’ll be extinct within one human generation if not before.

    Ever heard of exponential growth and decay? Well it starts almost imperceptibly and grows (or declines) slowly at first but increasingly swiftly to the point of overwhelming. We’ve got that on a number of fronts: resource depletion, CO2 and methane emissions, water scarcity, species extinction (we’re at 200 a DAY and counting), natural disasters (like earthquakes and volcanic action – all WAY up over the past few years), global population, infectious disease, food scarcity (due chiefly to climate change – drought and flooding – among other factors), deforestation, ocean acidification, etc.

    Here, look at the state of decline of oceans of the world:


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