As Cardiff Garcia says, when it comes to #mintthecoin, “it’s important for advocates to define carefully what they’re actually calling for”. The basic matrix, as I see it, looks a bit like this:
Happy fiscal cliff day! The fiscal prognosis is, amazingly, probably fuzzier today than it has been in weeks: the only thing that seems certain is that no one has a clue what’s going to happen, especially in the House. But amidst the chaos of the intraday news chase, I think two broader stories have failed to get the attention they deserve.
James Stewart has a long attack this weekend on the one idea from the presidential campaign which managed to receive genuine bipartisan support: the cap on deductions. He’s a first-rate reporter and columnist, so it’s worth going into some detail about all the different places he’s wrong.
This is the US unemployment rate, from Calculated Risk. Today’s jobs report was a very positive one: not only did job creation exceed all expectations, but unemployment fell too, to 7.7%. For the first time, the unemployment rate is lower than it was when Barack Obama took office, in January 2009.
The fiscal debate which is just beginning in Washington is the political equivalent of trench warfare: the two sides have strongly-held positions, and the confrontations are going to be held on a thousand different fronts. In the end, there will be some tax-code changes here, some spending cuts there — but the baseline is the status quo, and the further that a plan deviates from the status quo, the less likely it is to get adopted.