StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Uh Oh: Erskine Bowles Agrees With Me About The Fiscal Cliff

29 Nov 2012
Posted by Stan Collender

CG&G readers know that I (1) don't think much of the Bowles-Simpson commission and (2) have been saying for months that there's a better chance we'll go over the fiscal cliff and fix it afterwards than getting a deal before it hits on January 1.

So what do I say when, as he did yesterday, Erskine Bowles said he agrees with me (although he didn't mention me by name) about the small likelihood of an agreement that prevents the fiscal cliff from going into effect?

On the one hand, it's flattering; on the other hand, perhaps I should rethink my calculations.

For the record, Warren Buffet also said yesterday on CNBC that a deal on the fiscal cliff was more likely to happen in January than in December.

The whole discussion was

The whole discussion was enlightening to watch (available on C-SPAN). Bowles also said that he wants the media to start talking about "entitlement program" cuts because the recent focus was on the "revenue" side of things.

From what I heard him say:
1/3rd chance of a deal before we go over the cliff
1/3rd chance of a deal after we go over the cliff (because for some reason lawmakers don't think it would be bad?)
1/3rd chance that they play "small ball" and kick the can down the road.

Let's Talk What's "Fair"

Since that seems to be the favorite word these days. Let's start talking about EVERYONE getting to share in "entitlement" cuts. Regardless of age. That'll shut down things pretty quick.

After the cliff

What are the chances that after January 1, people realize that the sun still rises in the east, their husbands / wife / puppies / kittens still love them, and the government still plods along mostly as before and then conclude that it was all no big deal and we don't unwind any of it?

That to me is the benefit waiting until January. Before hand, the scare mongers hold sway. Afterwards, not so much.

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