Cliff Notes

When the bus you’re in is set to drive off the cliff, what do you do?

Let off the accelerator, stamp on the brakes, steer clear. If the cliff cuts through the road ahead, stop. And turn around.

Unfortunately, though the U.S. is heading directly toward a “fiscal cliff,” half the folks in Washington want to speed up, while the other half think just a little deceleration will do it.Beware Dangerous Cliffs

Enter the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and its new newly launched project, the Campaign to Fix the Debt. According to this non-partisan outfit, “temporary patches” and “one-year extensions” will not work, not while the federal government amasses “trillion dollar annual deficits” and “borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends.”

Economist Arnold Kling hazards that an honest debate about deficits and debt is not possible, and that a “bipartisan solution to the deficit has passed its sell-by date.” Further,

the “fiscal cliff” noise will drown out everything else after the election. My definition of “fiscal cliff” is running out of suckers willing to lend to our government at low interest rates. (We are closer to this cliff than you may think — look at how much of the debt the Fed has to buy.) But in Washington-speak, the “fiscal cliff” refers to the thought that the budget deficit might be reduced suddenly next year. Horrors!

My own fear is that this group is, in reality, just a bunch of politicians who will wind up pushing the old, tired mix of tax increases and spending cuts, with the “cuts” swallowed up in the CBO’s baseline annual spending increases.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

N.B. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment, when we look at a new group tackling this problem with greater gusto.

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jul
    19
    9:04
    AM
    Skip

    Paul, I travel a lot on buses in China. Thank God most of them are air conditioned….not so true with many public places.

    I happened to pick up on an English promotion flashing across a video on one of my rides last week: “Your Bus, Your Life”!

    I think it is safe to say that neither of us could ever be defined by our mode of transportation.

    Although in China, it it easy to see public transportation as a life line to to someone’s future.

  2. Jul
    19
    6:34
    PM
    Pat

    The ‘fiscal cliff’ is reached when there is no more money left to pay the outsized salaries of public sector workers. Please someone make them stop calling themselves ‘public servants’. They’re anything but.

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