Cliff Diving Just to Make a Point
John Makin cautions that our odds of going over the fiscal cliff are increasing:
The chance of going over the cliff has probably risen a bit to 25 percent over the last two weeks because some high level tacticians in both parties have suggested that “cliff-diving” may actually be advantageous for Republicans/Democrats with respect to their ultimate goal.
For a prime example, read Noam Scheiber at The New Republic:
Here’s what happens if we head into 2013 without a deal: Taxes will rise on every American. Thanks to the PR offensive the administration has waged—month after month of accusing the GOP of holding middle-class tax cuts hostage to cuts for the wealthy—and to the president’s structural advantages during a showdown with Congress, the public will immediately and overwhelmingly blame the GOP. “If we go over the cliff,” Bill Kristol wrote Monday, “what Republicans will have done is to make Democrats the party of tax cuts and Obama a president fighting for economic growth.” (Polls currently show that Americans will blame Republicans by a 53 to 27 margin; it will surely get worse every hour of 2013 that the standoff lingers). Which is why, within a few days or weeks of January 1, the GOP will almost certainly throw in the towel—“Republicans will fold with lightning speed,” is how Kristol put it. Democrats will propose a bill allowing rates for the top 2 percent to return to their Clinton-era levels and restore the Bush tax cuts for everyone else.
The Frum blog has catalogued some of the more terrible suggestions for the GOP for dealing with the fiscal cliff. Seeing Democrats join the ranks of cliff divers is less than exciting. The absolutely unnecessary shock to our economy that would be induced by the cliff (or curb, or austerity bomb, or whatever you'd like it called) is on the shoulders of our political elite. Shameful.