Thursday, January 3, 2013

Quote of the Week (Fiscal Cliff edition)

I don't have a lot to say about the recent "resolution" to the fiscal cliff, largely because it resolved nothing and is, once again, merely a prelude to the next "fiscal crisis" that is mere weeks away. However, I thought that Tyler Cowen of the Marginal Revolution blog shared the most succinct (and sobering) summary of the entire fiscal cliff experience. From New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, it's your Quote of the Week.


"If a newly re-elected Democratic president can’t muster the political will and capital required to do something as straightforward and relatively popular as raising taxes on the tiny fraction Americans making over $250,000 when those same taxes are scheduled to go up already, then how can Democrats ever expect to push taxes upward to levels that would make our existing public progams sustainable for the long run?"
                                                     - Ross Douthat, New York Times

Indeed. Which of course just shows us that there is, ultimately, zero political will to address the problems about which I've spilled so much ink (okay, pixels) on this blog. If we can't raise revenue, then we can't fund programs, period, end of story. It's just a matter of when we choose to recognize this fact (or when the markets decide to recognize it for us, as is usually the reality when it happens elsewhere, and is almost assured given that politicians are already setting up to capitulate on the next crisis).

All of this means that charts like this one aren't likely to change any time soon, regardless of what some people might want to tell you:

Source: Bianco Research via Barry Ritholtz
But hey, at least the markets liked the deal, that must be good news, right? Uh, maybe. Or maybe this thing was just like every other piece of legislation out of Washington lately—hastily thrown together, not well-understood even by those who voted on it because they didn't bother to read it, and loaded up with all sorts of kickbacks and favors to the corporate elite that don't belong in there to begin with.

Business as usual in Washington, right? Good grief.

[New York Times]
(h/t Marginal Revolution)

No comments:

Post a Comment