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Opening Arguments


This is scary and infuriating, but it's not really all that surpising, is it?

The notion of a "fiscal cliff" suggests the country is approaching a calamitous drop-off at the end of the year — and it would be tantamount to suicide to jump off.

But a growing contingent of policy wonks and Democrats insists that letting the Dec. 31 deadline come and go — thus triggering automatic tax increases and spending cuts — could produce the best outcome for the country.

Once the tax increases have kicked in, the reasoning goes, Republicans would be hard-pressed to roll them all back and would have to accept a deal on taming the deficit that contains more new tax revenue than GOP lawmakers want.

So some policy analysts and legislators say they are willing to go over the brink; some are even gunning for Congress to do it.

Call them the cliff-divers.

"It will be much easier to negotiate a budget deal going over the cliff," said William Gale, an economist at the Brookings Institute and former adviser to President George H.W. Bush. "It seems to be the only way we can boost revenues."

Gotta boost those revenues, whatever the cost. Get more out of the evil rich, despite the pointlessness of that as a deficit-recution tool. Never mind that letting our path to the cliff continue will take a still-weak economy and wreck it all over again. What utter morons.


Harl Delos
Mon, 10/29/2012 - 10:37am

I'm not sure I want to give much credence to someone who thinks December 31 is the end of the year for the federal government.  September 30 has been the end of the year since 1977, and before that, the year ended on June 30.  It hasn't been December 31 since 1842.

There is no reason for that "cliff" in any case.  If Congress wants to control spending - a doubtful proposition - all they have to do is stop spending the money.

The financial crisis started when people couldn't pay their mortgages, and that continues to be a major problem in getting the economy going again.  Instead of borrowing money to finance the debt, we should be coining it.  QE is a good idea, in that it's a lot easier to pay off debt with inflated dollars, and when inflation is a problem, people build productive assets instead of just letting their money sit in the bank. However, if you do QE by borrowing, we're just building a time bomb. We should, instead, coin money. Pennies cost more to produce than they are worth, and nickels aren't much better.  If we coined $1000 and $5000 coins and used them to pay off treasury notes as they came due, instead of rolling the notes forward, we'd reduce the national debt without raising taxes.

Mon, 10/29/2012 - 7:18pm

Maybe we can agree that at least the military spending cuts would be a good thing.