Everybody is worried about a fiscal cliff, so what the hell is it? In a nut shell, Bernanke coined the term in Feb 2012 as a way to describe massive spending cuts and tax hikes in January 2013 if there is no budget deal in Washington DC. Because the House is still controlled by the Republicans, and the Senate is still controlled by the Democrats, there is worry no legislation will pass given what happened during the debt ceiling debacle.
If no budget resolution passes, here’s what happens: 1) Federal income tax rates increase for those in the 33% and 35% tax brackets as the Bush tax cuts expire, 2) the payroll tax holiday disappears, 3) federal unemployment benefits completely vanish, 4) reimbursements get reduced to Medicare doctors, and 5) the debt ceiling stays the same, which forces across-the-board government spending cuts, including slashes in defense spending.
The fiscal cliff could amount to some $7 trillion worth of tax increases and spending cuts over a decade. This would do wonders to balance the budget to the dismay of free-spending politicians everywhere. The problem with such budget balance awesomeness is the abruptness by which policies are implemented. Even though ALL of us have known about the fiscal cliff for years, no policitian is willing to do anything until the last moment…. or more importantly, until they win the November 2012 elections to ensure power for the next four years!
I know I sound cynical about politicians, but open your eyes already! We work for the politicians, not the other way around. It’s our job to work as much as possible to keep our politicians in power so they can live great lifestyles and make lots of money while telling people what to do. Every single politician has told me, “Screw pension reform, because that’s my money!” Sweet.
Let’s address some key bickering points.