Monday, December 10, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff Part II: Electric Boogaloo

By Bill Maher

I think most people have "the fiscal cliff" confused with the debt ceiling crisis. Really, they're opposites. Not raising the debt ceiling means not paying our debts. Going off the fiscal cliff means paying off our debt by raising taxes and cutting government spending. Well-advertised is the CBO saying going off the cliff could lead to a recession next year. Less advertised is that it also says it could get us into a more sound fiscal position in the long-term.

All this fiscal cliff panic is just proof that we are all Keynesians. Everybody knows that more government spending -- whether it's in the form of tax expenditures or social services, helps the economy grow. But you have to balance that with not letting your budget get out of hand.
Since we're looking for new revenue streams that aren't income taxes, Obama should use this budget crisis -- if you can call it that -- to do something about global warming with a carbon tax. This may be his last and only chance to do something big since cap and trade didn't work. And it would be just desserts for the oil and coal industries that went all in for Mitt Romney, a nice little personal fuck you to the Koch brothers.

Actually, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson, has actually supported a carbon tax, saying, "As a businessman it is hard to speak favorably about any new tax. But a carbon tax strikes me as a more direct, a more transparent and more effective approach [than cap and trade]." I never thought I'd say this about a CEO of Exxon Mobil, but he's right.


wayner said...

Your comment that going off the 'fiscal cliff' will put the USA in a better economic position in the long term is right on IMO. It may be the kick in the ass people need to get serious about learning and working hard to get ahead. The reality is that paying down excessive government debt is going be just as painful as getting family debt under control. A carbon tax or VAT would be a good start.
-Looking at the big picture though I wonder if the capitalist model of expanding economy for full employment is sustainable for the long-term future in the face of exploding populations and depleting resources over the next 100 years. I hope that there is no such thing as reincarnation cos I think the world may be a hell-hole a la 'BladeRunner' in the near future.

Scott Lawson said...

Off topic, but please read. Recently, Sc senator Jim DeMint stepped down. It is now up to Governor Nikki Haley to appoint a replacement. Here in the "Bible Belt," we are run by the religious right. Former candidate for Governor, author of Candidate Without a Prayer, VP of the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry , and President of the Secular Coalition for America, Herb Silverman, has been endorsed by Richard Dawkins. Bill, we need someone to bring this to light. Someone who has the ways and means to get this message out there. Below are links to all the articles I can find about Herb, his endorsement, and what needs to get spread like wildfire. He is even leading in a local poll.

Poll Here:

Think you could help?

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