In an attempt to educate everyone about the impending “fiscal cliff,” this blogger has done some serious research, taking breaks only to consume half a large can of salted cashews.
Q. What is the fiscal cliff? This is a good question, especially since the words “fiscal” and “cliff” are usually associated with events having extremely dire consequences. And, since neither presidential candidate seemed to be aware of the fiscal cliff during the decade-long campaign, we had no warning. This is like you are driving down a mountain road and suddenly there is no guard rail and your car goes hurtling over the edge and you realize you have no health insurance and your VISA card has just flipped out of your wallet and you see in the rearview mirror that a very unsavory looking person has picked it up off the ground.
Q. If we go over this so-called cliff, what happens? Depending on who you are, this will result in either a short recession or all out nuclear war waged by aliens who have really bad body odor.
Q. What about tax increases and spending cuts? Yes.
Q. Can you elaborate? More taxes for everyone. Spending would be reduced by $1 trillion over 10 years and there would have to be identification of an additional $1.2 trillion in savings by January 2013. If Congress fails to agree on the second installment — as is the case so far — the automatic cuts will kick in. To clarify what 1 trillion really means, this would mean major tax increases for all Americans and then everyone else in the world would have to be taxed and their money sent to us. After that, the nearest occupied planet would be taxed.
Q. How did all this happen? Forbes Magazine likens the fiscal cliff to the “perfect storm” of Hurricane Sandy. There is the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts ( a normal hurricane) but then suddenly there is the start of the Alternative Minimum Tax (a trough of low pressure coming in from the Arctic) and an alien invasion (alien invasion).
Q. Can’t Democrats and Republicans agree in order to fix this? Democrats and Republicans actually agree on a lot, like the need to be re-elected and to pay themselves a lot of money. They diverge when the subject of the top 2% of wage earners rears its immaculately coiffed head. Republicans want to spare rich people a tax increase. Democrats want to tax them and then send them off a cliff.
Q: Who can we really blame for all this? Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll this week found that a majority of Americans would blame Republicans. Donald Trump would offer to pay off the entire national debt if Obama would admit to the American people that he was a pawn of a Muslim government.