Keeping Score on the Fiscal Cliff

Oct 31, 2012

David Wessel, of the Wall Street Journal, goes out in a suit and tie, finds a cliff, and gets eerily close to the edge to explain the “fiscal cliff,” the automatic tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts set to hit on January 1. It would be a “huge blow to an already-fragile economy,” he says.

After watching Wessel’s Budget 101, you'll be ready to watch Washington in action in the lame duck session after the election as it tries to address the cliff. The American Action Forum has put together a “Fiscal Cliff Scorecard” to help you keep track of what happens (if anything). As you can see, the House of Representatives has already passed four bills addressing the cliff, while the Senate has passed nothing.

It's like keeping score while watching the World Champion San Francisco Giants, the Washington Nationals, my Milwaukee Brewers, or your favorite baseball team. Follow along as the House, Senate, and White House pitch ideas back and forth while the public hopes that the economy doesn't end up striking out.

To avoid going over the cliff and a possible recession, Congress and the administration should first, extend all expiring tax provisions and find alternative cuts. Then they must work on spending reform--especially entitlement reform—and pro-growth tax reform. Doing that will hit a home run for the economy and the nation's fiscal health.

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