Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller is advising President Obama and the Democrats to “Head for the Cliff,” writing Sunday:
In January, two fiscal time bombs planted by Congress are due to explode. On Jan. 1, all the Bush tax cuts expire, constituting a $400-billion-plus tax hike in 2013. The next day — unless Congress agrees on a major deficit-reduction plan — a fiscal discipline known as sequestration will slash about $100 billion a year from federal spending, divided between defense and nondefense.
For months now, Erskine Bowles, the former Clinton chief of staff and a co-chairman of the Simpson-Bowles commission, has been quietly proposing that Obama treat the January Armageddon as an opportunity. The president should head straight for the cliff and let Congress know he’s prepared to take us over the edge unless they build a bridge.
Problem is, the fiscal cliff is a lot closer than Keller thinks. As I wrote this weekend:
Asked if the economic effects of Taxmageddon will be confined to 2013, Holtz-Eakin replied, “The fiscal cliff is already having an impact because businesses and families are not blind to the impending spike in taxes. Reports have already indicated that confidence and spending are declining and uncertainty in the tax code is sure to negatively impact businesses’ likelihood to hire in the near term.”
A new Pulse Opinion Research poll, found that 53 percent of voters say Obama has taken the wrong actions and has slowed the economy down. If job creation goes from weak to negative next month, these numbers will only go up.