Originally Posted by Cito Pelon
I don't want to see the cliff, can't be laughed off as no big deal. Markets will crash worldwide. It's a big deal.
Markets won't crash the day after the deadline passes. I expect they will react negatively, but the detrimental effects of the tax hikes and the sequester will be gradual—and minimal if they pass a deal soon after. So really the "cliff" metaphor has always been a poor one in that sense. If bargaining drags on well past the deadline, then we reach the oh ****
What Roh/Krugman are saying, though, is that the nature of the problem posed by the "fiscal cliff" is being widely misrepresented. The main narrative seems to be "this 'cliff' is the result of putting off needed deficit reduction measures for too long, and now me must agree on a way to implement them." Hell, both parties are largely sticking somewhat close to that narrative.
They're wrong. The "cliff" really represents an austerity crisis: a sudden implementation of taxes (on everyone) and budget cuts—anti-stimulus that would wreck havoc on a very weak economy. Priorities #1-10 should be strengthening that recovery by, yes, running up further deficits and stimulating further job growth. Taking the bitter medicine of taxes and budget cuts should wait until we are in a stable economy. If we implement them now, even only in part, it will only backfire and make the long term deficits worse (see: Great Britain).
Frankly, the best thing they could do is kick the can down the road even further. But that would be politically toxic, so here we are...