Congress risks taking the economy over a “massive fiscal cliff,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned lawmakers on Wednesday.
In remarks that hit Wall Street stock prices, the central bank boss suggested the economy could hit a serious roadblock if Congress allows the Bush tax rates and a payroll tax cut to expire and $1.2 trillion in spending cuts to be implemented simultaneously in January.
Under current law, on Jan. 1, 2013, there’s going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases,” Bernanke told the House Financial Services Committee. “I hope that Congress will look at that and figure out ways to achieve the same long-run fiscal improvement without having it all happen at one date.
“All those things are hitting on the same day, basically. It’s quite a big event.”
Little secret: We've already driven off the cliff. Just haven't landed yet.