On the Fiscal Cliff Games

Today POLITICO Arena asks:

Will the wealthy bite back at the GOP?

My response:

The “fiscal cliff” debate going on in Washington today has almost nothing to do with the nation’s fiscal problems, which are rooted in too much spending, not too little taxing. Thus far, the debate’s all politics. Do we need any better evidence than Obama’s obsession with taxing the rich, expected to raise all of $1.6 trillion over 10 years (and we know how reliable those long-range static analyses are)? That barely covers the deficit for one year.

So those few Republicans, mostly in the Senate, who are playing this game deserve to be bitten, not simply by those who’ll be hit by the tax but by anyone who recognizes the game for what it is. When Obama and the Democrats, to say nothing of too many Republicans, get serious about reining in federal spending, then maybe they’ll be taken seriously.

In the meantime, the much over-hyped fiscal cliff looks increasingly attractive. Republicans will take the initial hit. But soon enough it’ll be “Obama’s economy.” That may be the jolt we need. Otherwise, we’ll keep borrowing until lenders decide it’s too risky to keep lending.

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