The Fiscal Cliff Is Scary, But The Real Debt Is Even Scarier

Fiscal Cliff Negotiations
With a little more than 30 days before the end of the year, President Obama is back on the campaign trail, but this time it is to garner support for his plan to solve the fiscal cliff, which includes raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year. Obama is not alone as business and labor groups also aggressively try to shape the debate over tax increases and entitlement reform.

As Senate Republicans begin to signal they are willing to compromise on the revenue side of the ledger, some argue that even a compromise deal would be a bad idea.

“If Obama and the Democrats want to take us over the fiscal cliff, let them lead the way. Once the Bush tax cuts expire, every American will pay higher taxes — which means the pressure for tax reform on both sides will be even greater. By contrast, if Republicans give away the revenues from deductions and loopholes today, they will alleviate that pressure and have no revenues left to pay for a simpler, fairer, pro-growth tax code next year.,” says Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post.

Why The National Debt Is Greater Than $16 Trillion
When discussing the nation’s debt, the figure that trips off of the tongues of most policymakers is $16 trillion. Actually, the debt is much larger as former Reps. Chris Cox and Bill Archer note in The Wall Street Journal.

More than a decade after Bill Clinton convened a panel to study entitlements, the actual federal government liabilities, they note, already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP. In fact, they add, if the numbers used were accurate it would show that “for the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion. Nothing like that figure is used in calculating the deficit. In reality, the reported budget deficit is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.”

Who Will Succeed Mary Schapiro At The SEC?
 As Mary Schapiro prepares to depart the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency is still trying to climb out from under years of contentious relations with other regulatory agencies and scandals large and small. The job of rebuilding the SEC, therefore, will require much work.



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