Tag Archives | Fiscal Cliff

The Movement To Mint A Trillion Dollar Coin

Have you heard about the Trillion Dollar Coin? No joke, there’s serious talk in Washington about minting one. Joe Weisenthal explains at Business Insider:

There are really two stunning things about the movement to mint a trillion dollar coin to avert a debt ceiling crisis.

FIRST: the movement has gone absolutely nuts.

Everyone is talking about it.

Media outlets and individuals include: BBCFox NewsCNNPIMCO’s Bill GrossPaul KrugmanReutersThe GuardianWall Street JournalThe EconomistBloombergMSNBCCNBCNBCCBSABCThe AustralianRia Novosti (Russia), Stephen ColbertThe Washington Post. That’s just a partial list.

SECOND: Despite the supposed absurdity of it, and despite the fact that it flies in the face of everything everyone thinks about money, there are virtually no good arguments against it.

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The Middle Class Has Been Saved – Or Has It?

Long live the middle class now that it has survived the fiscal cliff and been “saved.” President Obama is basking in the glory of having averted the deepening of a crisis that is more structural than political and hardly resolved. The markets are cheering, it is said, because markets love stability, unless there is money to be made off of volatility of their own making. Forget the working class. The term is passé, as is the so-called and usually undefined great mushy middle class moves into its rightful place at the center of everyone’s concerns. (When asked what class they are in—or aspire to be in—workers, and even the poor say Middle Class. Unless survey questions include the choice of working class that they usually don’t.) Analysts who looked closely at the big deal so hysterically pushed through Congress as the dramatic end-piece of a year of political warfare, say that there will be very little gain for the middle class with income taxes down but payroll taxes up, insuring that it will be more, at best, of a wash than a redistribution of wealth on any level. Many Americans, not just the rich, will be shelling out more, not less. Economist Lambert Strether calls it the “fecal cliff,” noting, “cuts and tax increases (especially on the rich) are not commensurate. A “sacrifice” where some give up luxuries and others give up necessities is in no way “shared. A marginal sacrifice for the rich is not commensurate to core sacrifices for the rest...
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The Big Lebowski Explains the Fiscal Cliff

Kind of a stretch by Jonathan Chait writing for New York Magazine, but on the other hand has anyone else done a better job of explaining the so-called fiscal cliff?
The Big Lebowski

The tax deal completes the first piece of a multistage showdown between President Obama and congressional Republicans over the federal budget and the economic recovery. The Obama administration made concessions, but the concessions were small, and it is gloating that it won a larger strategic victory by breaking Republican anti-tax absolutism. Republicans, including anti-tax absolutists themselves, mostly believe they got through the first and most unfavorable stage as intact as could be. (Grover Norquist: “We’re in this impossible, upside-down position, where if you do nothing, taxes go up. That’s what we got saved from. That goes away now.”)

In gaming out the next, and much more dangerous, stages, the crucial question is, which side is right? I believe Republicans are.

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Ignoring Warnings Can Be Fatal

Stöwer Titanic2012 has been the l00th anniversary of the famous Titanic disaster. The Captain of that “unsinkable” ship was warned that there were icebergs ahead but he was too busy, out to set a speed record on the way to New York.

The warnings were ignored and we know what happened. What we don’t know is why other urgent warnings go unheeded.

Take the repeated warnings that the easy availability of hand guns and assault rifles would lead to more massacres of innocents. The National Rifle Association operates with impunity (even as it bans weapons in its offices.)

When action is not taken, you increase the likelihood of more deadly incidents like the ones in malls and even elementary schools.

Take the predictions of a storm surge tied to climate change threatening the New York/New Jersey coastline. They were acknowledged but downplayed because right-wingers and their think tanks spent a decade in bogus quibbling about “junk” science.… Read the rest

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Fiscal Cliff? Fiscal Hoax

Picture: "Urban" (CC)

Peter Hart writes at OtherWords:

The biggest story in Washington is about something that doesn’t really exist: the so-called ”fiscal cliff.” This manufactured panic is all about politicians and corporate interests getting things they want — things that don’t have much to do with the ”crisis” anyway. But instead of challenging this spin, big media outlets are playing along.

So what’s the not-really-a-cliff anyway? It’s a number of things that are set to happen all at once starting in January. On the one hand, there are budget cuts, more or less equally divided between military and domestic spending. The threat of those cuts was supposed to force Congress to reach a deal last year. It didn’t.

Add in the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and a temporary cut in the Social Security payroll tax and it starts to really add up. That’s what’s causing these breathless TV reports telling you that if Congress and the White House don’t act in the next few weeks, the average family’s tax bill will go up an astonishing $3,500.

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