The latest report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released on Tuesday said that if the country falls off the “fiscal cliff” — variously also called “taxmageddon” — it will likely enter a new recession. With the ending of the Bush-era tax cuts (essentially a gigantic tax increase on the wealthy), the termination of extended unemployment benefits, the reimposition of the payroll tax rates back up to 6.2 percent from the current 4.2 percent, and the “sequester” cuts in government spending demanded by the agreement that Congress hammered out last summer in order to raise the debt ceiling, the CBO predicts that the country’s Gross National Product (GNP) will go negative for at least two quarters, which is the classic definition of a recession.
Executive Orders to reduce regulatory burdens on the economy, such as the one issued last week by President Obama, are likely to have little if any effect. A better solution is for Congress, which created the monstrous regulatory state, and which still has the power to shut it down, to starve the agencies by failing to renew their requests for operating funds.
As state budgets are increasingly shrinking, many are getting "creative" as they look for ways to meet the spending requirements in order to receive matching federal welfare funds.
In the face of the $500 billion "taxmageddon" tax increase coming in 2012, Congress will pass the buck. Nothing is likely to happen before the election, and the lame duck Congress will then drop-kick the issue into next year by extending current law and letting the new Congress deal with it.
On Wednesday the Senate voted down five budget proposals, reflecting gridlock and unwillingness to face reality. Four of the budget proposals were presented by Republican senators, while the fifth was based on President Obama’s budget.