Fiscal cliff

What fiscal cliff?

Featured image Early this year, the U.S. economy went over half of a fiscal cliff or more — a supposedly draconian sequester plus some tax increases, albeit not the across-the-board hike that formed the full cliff. From all that appears, the U.S. economy has lived to tell about it. Neil Irwin and Ylan Q. Mui of the Washington Post rehearse some of the good news: Housing prices rose faster over the past »

Sequestering Common Sense

Featured image So we know, courtesy of that Washington oracle Bob Woodward, that Obama and the White House have simply lied about the origin of the sequester that the Establishment is saying will result in the loosing of the Seven Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  I guess we shouldn’t be amazed at the cynicism of the White House in predicting doom and gloom about a $42 billion (the real cut will only be »

Obama seeks to avoid going over half of the fiscal cliff

Featured image Throughout the “fiscal cliff” drama, I argued that once the middle class tax increase was called off (as seemed almost inevitable), Republicans would have the upper hand because President Obama fears sequestration more than Republicans do (or should). The key, then, was to keep sequestration on the table or, as I put it, “to go over half of the fiscal cliff.” Now that we are about to take that plunge, »

Are we more Greek than Latvian?

Featured image In a piece called “Austerity and National Character,” Anne Applebaum compares the pursuit of austerity in Latvia and Greece. In Latvia, she reports, the Latvian government responded to the crash of 2008 by slashing public spending, firing a third of its civil service, and reducing the salaries of those who remained. GDP fell by 24 percent in two years, but is now growing at more than 5 percent. Meanwhile, the »

The Education of John Boehner

Featured image It’s not the Dynamo and the Virgin, it’s the ho-ho-ho and the head spin: What stunned House Speaker John Boehner more than anything else during his prolonged closed-door budget negotiations with Barack Obama was this revelation: “At one point several weeks ago,” Mr. Boehner says, “the president said to me, ‘We don’t have a spending problem.’” Hey, maybe he gets his news from Meet the Press. It’s actually worse than »

The Weekly Winston: Fiscal Abyss Edition

Featured image Now that we’re past the “fiscal cliff” (note I didn’t say “safely” past), we really ought to try to promote a term that is more accurate to our real predicament, which is much worse.  How about “fiscal abyss”?  This is the term of art we ought to use as we approach the political sequel to the fiscal cliff, which will come with the expiration of the debt ceiling sometime in »

Clearing my spindle: I’m Not OK edition

Featured image I think the following items will be of interest to Power Line readers. I’d like to bring them to your attention without much comment. While our attention was turned elsewhere this past October, the space shuttle Endeavour made its final journey: it traveled 12-miles from Los Angeles International Airport, through Inglewood, to the California Science Center in Exposition Park. Reader Zack Russ writes that he came across this wonderful time-lapse »

A “grand bargain,” Burns and Allen style

Featured image The White House reportedly is interested in a “grand bargain” with Republicans as a means of avoiding the sequester and getting out from under the debt-ceiling. The bargain would involve raising revenue by ending or limiting certain deductions and cutting some spending, or at least pretending to. The White House’s strategy sounds like a variation on a very old George Burns and Gracie Allen routine. George holds four cigars and »

Cliff pork

Featured image Here, via the Washington Post, is a partial list of those whose pork was preserved by the “fiscal cliff” legislation that passed Congress: Puerto Rican rum distillers Hollywood studios (what a surprise) Tribal lands coal Electric scooter makers The wind-energy industry Wouldn’t it have been nice if the House had passed an amended version of the Senate bill that eliminated the pork? Harry Reid’s Senate would then have had to »

The Real Fiscal Cliff

Featured image Some ad man deserves an award for coming up with the phrase “fiscal cliff” to denominate a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that had the potential to make a start, at least, toward addressing the nation’s debt crisis–$16.4 trillion and growing. Whew! The “fiscal cliff” was averted, and Wall Street celebrated. But the real cliff just got that much closer. That’s my pedestrian way of explaining what the »

Democrats Quietly Allow Social Security Taxes To Rise

Featured image Higher taxes on the “rich” have dominated discussion of the McConnell-Biden deal, but it has also been widely reported that the legislation will raise taxes on more than 77% of all U.S. households. In fact, the Tax Policy Center has calculated that 46% of the additional taxes raised in 2013 will come from the bottom 80% of Americans. So why haven’t we been hearing more about this? The tax that »

Ramirez on the Case

Featured image Michael Ramirez nails it as usual: »

Cliff’s Notes

Featured image Everyone is adding up the balance sheet of the tax deal, and any assessment that uses standard GAAP methods will find that it is a textbook compromise—that is, it had something for everyone to like and hate.  (By the way, “GAAP” in this context does not mean “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.”  Heck, if the U.S. government used real GAAP, it would have been placed in receivership on about Day Two »

Both sides lost because the public rejects their diets

Featured image Yuval Levin argues that the left should be disappointed by the “fiscal cliff” deal. Why? Because “their best opportunity in a generation for increasing tax rates (which is the only fiscal reform they seem to want)” has come and gone with only a minimal increase in tax revenue achieved: This deal is projected to yield $620 billion in revenue over a decade — increasing projected federal revenue by about 1.7 »

Can the Republican party survive any more McConnell-brokered deals?

Featured image Mitch McConnell has many virtues as a legislator. Unfortunately, brokering deals advantageous to Republicans is not one of them. McConnell’s defenders will say that his most recent deal was the best any Republican could do under the circumstances. Perhaps. But this defense ignores the fact that it was McConnell’s prior deal — the one creating the “fiscal cliff” — that established these adverse circumstances. Let’s step back and consider the »

House eats the dog food

Featured image The House has passed the Biden-McConnell fiscal cliff compromise bill by a vote of 257-167. Only 16 Democrats voted no. On the Republican side, it was 85 for and 151 against. We’ve said all we have to say, I think, about the issues and the politics presented by this particular vote. The focus now turns to the sequester, the debt-ceiling, and the continuing resolution. Will the Republicans be able to »

How the Left Views the “Cliff” Deal

Featured image Conservatives are generally unhappy with the deal that Mitch McConnell agreed to last night. But it never hurts to put yourself in the other guy’s shoes, and it turns out that the left isn’t very happy with the outcome of the “cliff” negotiations, either. I am on lots of the Democratic Party email lists, including MoveOn’s. This is the hysterical email I got from them today: From: “Ilya Sheyman, MoveOn.org »