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Watch the Thom Hartmann video, it's quite informative. Don't you love how this game is played? The temporary Bush tax cuts, the very same ones that helped ballooned the deficit to record levels, are about to expire and the Capitol Hill Chicken Littles are running around screaming "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" So letting them expire will throw the country into recession? For those of us outside the Village, how would we even know the difference? We're already out of work, or working for peanuts.
Now, you realize where this is going: This is the scary story that's supposed to provide cover for the usual suspects who want to make the Grand Bargain on Social Security. The Greek chorus is gathering, chanting about the "obvious" solutions (hint, hint). "We'll let you have a little stimulus now, provided we can slash the hell out of your earned benefits later!"
And because this is a complicated idea, most people won't understand, the librul media can't explain because they're too hooked on access to make waves, only a few reporters will bring up the idea of simply raising new revenue, and the hollowing of Social Security and Medicare will soon be a "bipartisan" victory. Don't you love politics?
Tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect in January would suck $607 billion out of the economy next year, plunging the nation at least briefly back into recession, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.
Unless lawmakers act, the economy is likely to contract in the first half of 2013 at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent, the CBO said, before returning to 2.3 percent growth later in the year.
Canceling those tax and spending policies would protect the recovery in the short run and encourage more vibrant growth, around 4.4 percent, in 2013, the CBO said. However, unless lawmakers adopt policies that would reduce budget deficits by a comparable amount down the road, the CBO said, the national debt would continue to climb, imperiling future economic growth.
The report, “Economic Effects of Reducing the Fiscal Restraint That Is Scheduled to Occur in 2013,” comes as policymakers are bracing for the most consequential battle over government tax and spending policies in years. The George W. Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire on Dec. 31, along with a payroll tax cut proposed by President Obama. Meanwhile, sharp cuts are scheduled to hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies to meet a deal cut during last summer’s showdown over the nation’s debt limit.
Anxiety is growing over how the impact of those tax and spending cuts would affect the nation’s economic recovery come January, when what’s been nicknamed “taxmageddon” hits. After the November election, a lame-duck Congress will have barely two months to resolve a grinding standoff over taxes and spending — a battle that brought the United States to the brink of default last summer.
UPDATE: Erskine Bowles is rumored to be under consideration for Obama's second term as Treasury secretary, and we already know he wants to cut Social Security and Medicare.