I was feeling pretty good about myself for spending part of my day off writing about the fiscal cliff. (This task was also a helpful reminder that tax and spending laws are really really complicated.) An excerpt:
The overall idea is that there are a number of fiscal policies (read, policies having to do with government spending and taxation) that are scheduled to automatically expire or take effect at the end of the year. Because letting these policies go as planned would be fiscally contractionary, people are worried that not amending them could jeopardize the nation’s economic recovery.
On the tax front, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 will expire at the end of 2012. One of the main provisions of this law is a two-year extension of the “Bush Tax Cuts,” i.e. the combination of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.
Kind of yawn inducing, but necessary in order to not be ignorant about the world. And I tried to make it more interesting by adding a video that the Wall Street Journal put together as a primer on the fiscal cliff.
That said, not even an hour after I finish I find a fiscal cliff intro that makes my attempt at informative yet interesting look like a steaming pile of dog crap. First of all, there are amusing visuals:
Then there’s the sarcasm, starting right with a title of “The Absolute Moron’s Guide to the Fiscal Cliff.” Some highlights:
Man, that Ryan Seacrest is absolutely everywhere these days!
Good one. The sequester is a fancy word for a set of deep spending cuts that will kick in automatically in January if there’s no deal. These cuts were dreamed up in 2011, when the Budget Control Act was passed, to motivate Democrats and Republicans to work together on a compromise for reducing the deficit by making them scared of what would happen if they didn’t.
Ooh, I did that once. My cousin Trina was trying to lose weight, and I told her I would buy her a bottle of Malibu if she could get down to a size 8 dress for prom. If she lost, I would get her Nintendo Wii.
That’s not really the same … actually, that is exactly the same thing. Anyway, the congressional committee that was supposed to reach a deal in 2011 failed, so now the sequester is a real possibility. The spending cuts would hit areas like defense and discretionary domestic spending particularly hard, and hurt many people who rely on government-sponsored social services. And economists believe that, combined with the mandatory tax hikes, they could push the country back into a recession.
In related news, I would really appreciate it is someone would explain the Ryan Seacrest joke to me. (You can see the full context in the article.) Anyway, I am absolutely taking this showing up as a stern reminder to try harder in the future, so stay tuned.