Dec. 11, 2012
The fiscal cliff -- the result of Washington's habit of enacting "temporary" fiscal policies -- would actually curb deficits by $7 trillion, starting in earnest next year. But how deficits are reduced matters. Even independent deficit hawks aren't demanding that deficits be slashed immediately. In fact, they've warned all along about the dangers posed by the cliff.
"The sudden and blunt nature of ... the fiscal cliff would have a devastating impact on the economy," the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget noted in a recent blog post.
Some call for extra stimulus to be injected into the economy next year.
Among them are economist Alice Rivlin, a Democrat, and former Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici, a Republican, who co-chaired a debt reduction task force for the Bipartisan Policy Center.
They've proposed a framework that would let lawmakers avert the fiscal cliff and come up with a long-term debt reduction plan to be voted on next year.
Their framework would make a small down payment on deficit reduction phased in over 10 years but would also create a one-time income tax rebate in 2013 worth $120 billion to help support the economic recovery.
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Economic Policy Project