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Rich writes: "The breathless and phony countdown to the fiscal cliff - What if they can't agree? What if we fall off? Can America possibly survive? - is media hype, a desperate effort to drum up a drama to keep viewers and readers tuned in now that the election is over."

Columnist Frank Rich. (photo: NYT)
Columnist Frank Rich. (photo: NYT)

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+10 # charsjcca 2012-12-06 14:41
The fiscal cliff is a Y2K "look-a-like." How about a road that goes no place.
+3 # 666 2012-12-07 06:41
It's just another example of how the government manages the media and the media manage the people via "Terror Management Theory" frames (look it up!).
+4 # George D 2012-12-08 16:18
During the Y2K scare (and that's exactly what it was) there were plenty of experts saying "relax; these are very manageable issues". In this "scare" there are almost no experts saying that. Why? Because, if you look at it, the scare is mostly on the financial markets and not the average American. In fact; If I have a 401K with money earning almost nothing, the last thing that will scare me is "skyrocketing interest rates". If I can't get a loan at 4%, why do I care if the rates are 18%?
Oh, I know; "It'll drive up the cost of everything!" Really? Ever hear about, I don't know, what's that old saying again? SUPPLY AND DEMAND?
Yes; Supplies could become limited, and demand will drive up cost, but recession drives the demand back down again and with that, the costs.

I believe that a "reset" is coming in the world economy. That will drive EVERYTHING down, including American wages. But then what? We are more competitive with other countries? Then what? MORE American employment follows? Who wins in this scenario? Looks to me like the average American wins, no matter what his bank account looks like.
Of course, property owners will take another bath but, have you noticed who's buying up the homes? The BANKS are :-)

Yep; it's a cliff alright and THEY ARE scared.
+17 # Depressionborn 2012-12-06 14:59
Those of us with only a small pension and social security are anxious for Obama’s plan so we can live better. If the wealthy don’t have enough for everyone can we get them to work harder? Perhaps we are feeding them too well.
-16 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 16:07
Yes we must enslave others for our benefit!
+1 # hobbesian 2012-12-06 21:53
funny! you're really on the other side! I laughed!!! This is what happens to us!
+5 # Depressionborn 2012-12-07 02:35
Quoting hobbesian:
funny! you're really on the other side! I laughed!!! This is what happens to us!

We are on the side of liberty, what side are you on?
+8 # Mrcead 2012-12-06 15:15
The ref made the call.

Play ball.
+16 # Billy Bob 2012-12-06 15:22
"Everyone knows the Republicans are going to fold — the Republicans know they are going to fold — and the only question to be resolved is when and on what terms"

If by "folding" you mean, get their way completely about cuts to Medicare, then I agree completely.

The only reason we keep hearing that this is about the 2% tax increase on the top 2% is that everyone wants political cover for their real agenda - to gut Medicare. It's already pretty obviously on the table. The media won't think any sacrifice is enough either. I heard Andrea Mitchell tell one of Obama's employees something to the effect of, "come-on, you have to give more than that! You know that won't be enough to end this!", in response to the suggestion that they can save Medicare costs by finding inefficiencies rather than gutting the program. That's MSNBC: the TV "voice of the left".

The AARP is not exactly liberal (or even close), but it seems to be pretty vocally opposed to this kind of "grand bargain" thumb up the electorate. Will anybody listen?

I find it deeply disturbing that Medicare will have to be sacrificed just to squeeze a measely two percent out of billionaires.
+36 # Billy Bob 2012-12-06 15:23
God forbid we mention other ideas, like:

-cutting the War Department drastically
-cutting the Phony "Security" industry drastically
-raising capital gains taxes
-getting rid of loopholes for mega global corporations
-raising taxes on the rich by a hell of a lot more than 2 lousy percent.
+18 # Helen 2012-12-06 17:43
Or by imposing a carbon tax, which would mitigate global warming and cut pollution, thereby benefitting all of us.
-6 # Vern Radul 2012-12-06 18:17
God forbid it? He did?

Funny, I recall it was obama and his deluded supporters who tried to forbid those ideas before the election because they are all part of the Green Party platform....
+6 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-12-07 07:06
Quoting Billy Bob:
God forbid we mention other ideas, like:

-cutting the War Department drastically
-cutting the Phony "Security" industry drastically
-raising capital gains taxes
-getting rid of loopholes for mega global corporations
-raising taxes on the rich by a hell of a lot more than 2 lousy percent.

And stop aiding the half rich in the name of helping the middle class. Eisenhower taxes on all whose net worth is over $50,000
+7 # Art947 2012-12-07 07:45
The $50,000 threshold would be more realistic if it was adjusted for the inflation that has taken place since the Eisenhower Administration in the 190s. I believe that the $250,000 cutpoint is probably more in line with how prices have risen during the past 50+ years -- although I also realize that wages have not kept pace.

To give some examples: a slice of pizza was 15 cents in 1960, it is now more than $2.25; OJ was 25 cents a quart, it is now more than $1.10 for the same quantity. As Yogi Berra is claimed to have said: a nickel isn't worth a dime anymore!
-1 # engelbach 2012-12-07 09:49
That figure is far too low. Net worth includes houses, as well as retirement accounts. I would peg it at a million.
+1 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-12-07 07:17
-cutting the War Department drastically
-cutting the Phony "Security" industry drastically

IQuoting Billy Bob:
God forbid we mention other ideas, like:

-cutting the War Department drastically
-cutting the Phony "Security" industry drastically . . .

The Ron Paul division of the Tea Party wanted the first two before they were sacked. Lets defend them,
+3 # Cassandra2012 2012-12-08 16:09
Or —ending all TAXPAYER-funded subsidies to giant corporations like oil and gas and to big agribusiness.

Or — TAXING the hell out of all corporations that outsource jobs, and hoard profits in offshore accts. in Bermuda and the CAYMAN ISLANDS.
0 # jky1291 2012-12-11 01:35
For 30 years the corruptly purchased Congressional representatives of the 2% have entitled them to privatize the assets of the United States Treasury for their mutual enrichment. That is a luxury for which our nation can no longer afford to pay, nor can we tolerate such unethical and immoral behavior at the expense of 98% of our citizens. The demands for debt reduction during this current financial crisis created by this treasonous behavior dictates that it is past time for the 98% of our nation, who have been exploited and abused, to call in that loan to be repaid by nationalizing the ill gotten assets of the 2% who were undeservedly enriched by decades of that illegitimate activity. As some have rightly said the government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. So, it is past time government of the 2%, by the 2%, for the 2% should perish from this earth, and the neglected and ignored 98% should regain equal representation as our founding fathers dictated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and was reaffirmed by our Civil War. Lest we are required to again reaffirm our inalienable rights thusly, those whom we elect and pay to represent all the people would be well advised to do so, or be held responsible for the consequences.
+15 # giraffee2012 2012-12-06 15:35
Some rich guys are saying they are moving out of USA bc Obama won - I say "Don't let the door hit your behind on way out"

These are not job creators - i.e. Koch type.

Most job creators are behind Obama's plan

Don't forget the "media" gives you part of the story - so you'll listen to their programs so they can make $$ on commercials
-6 # Martintfre 2012-12-07 15:45
//Most job creators are behind Obama's plan// Delusional statement

The Rich that are soo despised on these pages are the successful job creators the wealth is an effect of their success.
+7 # Art947 2012-12-07 16:18
I am sorry that you are so delusional. The "rich" that you are referring to are the parasites of our society. They have gotten their gains on the backs of those who are actually working to create goods and services. The small businessman knows full well that his/her business depends of the ability of the common folk to spend their meager earnings on the materials or services that they provide. Actually "job creators" are not only behind the President's plan, they are in favor of government borrowing and spending in times of recession to create more jobs and build a growing economy. Get real, Martinfre, your troll comments are without merit.
+5 # engelbach 2012-12-07 16:45
Sorry, but I could not agree less.

Since 2001 the rich have grown richer and richer and jobs have grown fewer and fewer.

Most wealth comes from investment in the secondary securities market, which does nothing to help businesses and most certainly creates no jobs -- except for stock brokers.
+16 # jwb110 2012-12-06 15:37
Finally someone has said in a major publication! The Fiscal Cliff
is A lie intended to sway a people who could not be swayed in the last election
Cry Wolf, GOP boys. You'll find that you are wasting your breath and my precious time.
-13 # Vern Radul 2012-12-06 16:00
You went over the obama cliff on November 6th. This is what the lesser evilists who voted for obama on November 6th voted for.

They won. They got what they voted for. And you are going to pay for it.

You are now in freeefall. Look down. See those rocks coming up fast at you?

Everyone *should* have seen it coming

It is not Obama's fault that even though he promised transparency there are still some people who are still unable to see through him.
on July 27 [2011]...

At a press conference held by members of the House Out of Poverty Caucus Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich), the second most senior member of the U.S. House, was pointed in his criticism of the White House regarding jobs and cuts to Social Security the President put on the table last week.

“We’ve got to educate the American people at the same time we educate the President of the United States. The Republicans, Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader Cantor did not call for Social Security cuts in the budget deal. The President of the United States called for that,” Conyers, who has served in the House since 1965, said. “My response to him is to mass thousands of people in front of the White House to protest this,” Conyers said strongly.
It Is Not Obama's Fault, July 31, 2011
-10 # Vern Radul 2012-12-06 16:09
And romney would be just as bad as obama.

There *were" other options. There *was* the option to vote for good rather than vote for lesser or greater evil, but that's history now.

The people who voted for this are going to try now to pretend they didn't get what they voted for, but their protestations will be empty words.

They got what they wanted.

The rocks are on their way up fast now...
+21 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 16:00
How Did Iceland Deal with their fiscal cliff?

Bailing out that banks only works for the Banks -- rewarding stupidity at every one elses expense.
-10 # dick 2012-12-06 16:01
The GOPers DO NOT "have to" fold. They may end up asserting that choosing between The Cliff & A Heinous Surrender is a FALSE choice. They could vote No, then claim they are not the ones responsible for the cliff. Pin it on Career Politicians, Washington Insiders, Socialist, & those who Blame Whites First.
+8 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 16:02
"...we did not pump public money into the failed banks. We treated them like private companies that went bankrupt, and we let them fail..."
Olafur Ragnar Grimsson democratically elected President of the terrorist state of IceLand

Read more:
+1 # Vern Radul 2012-12-06 16:04
Barack Obama, October 24, 2012:

Obama laid out an astoundingly ambitious second-term agenda in an interview published Wednesday...

"It will probably be messy. It won't be pleasant," Obama told the Des Moines Register's publisher and its editor by telephone. The daily made the exchange public after the White House dropped its insistence that it be off-the-record.
"I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I've been offering to the Republicans for a very long time...

"We can easily meet—'easily' is the wrong word—we can credibly meet the target that the Bowles-Simpson Commission established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and even more in the out-years...
+12 # Art947 2012-12-06 16:17
The only problem with Frank Rich's analogy was the one to Y2K. Y2K was a real crisis that was averted by skilled computer specialists who didn't let "self" and "blaming others" get in the way of solving the problem. Unfortunately, the does not seem to be a single Republican with the sense that he or she was born with in our Congress! It is unfortunate as well that ignoramuses such as McConnel, Ryan, Boehner, Cantor, et al are permitted to play in the big house!
+2 # engelbach 2012-12-07 09:54
Y2K was actually a scam.

Almost all systems were prepared for the change of century, including my home computers.

No last-minute heroics were required of the technical experts.
+2 # MidwestTom 2012-12-06 20:38
According to todays WSJ, only 32% of those earning #250,000 to #300,000 will pay increased taxes under the Obama plan. So why the big battle on wither side? The increased income will be minor, and the truly wealthy will avoid the increase. The only ones who will pay will be those newly making over #250,000 who are not yet wealthy enough to take advantage of various legal tricks to avoid paying taxes. I believe that there will be some quick agreement that really does not address the problem, just kicks the can down the road.
+3 # engelbach 2012-12-07 09:56
Probably almost nobody earning $250,000 to $300,000 will pay tax increases. Those figures are on taxable income, not gross. Deductions will easily lower most of those earners below the threshold.
-1 # Vern Radul 2012-12-06 21:23
Basically, republicans are working with democrats and the president, and democrats and the president are working with republicans, to create a cliff to push everybody else over. And they are going to wreck the economy whether or not people accept it.

They've both convinced themselves that the people they work for have adopted them into the club.

Boy are they going to be in for a shock when they find out that the club considers them to be just "the help" and find they've driven away the rest of the people, who could have helped them.

It's going to get very ugly being a politician in the next few years. Self inflicted rock and a hard place ugly.

They're going to be like tightrope walkers with no safety net. And very shocked looks on their pathetic faces while they demand "support" and try to tell people the "other guy" is scary...
+6 # FDRva 2012-12-06 22:44
The fiscal cliff is an artificial construct created by Congress under pressure from Wall Street--who just want to loot social security and other entitlements. And Congress can repeal the 'fiscal cliff,' that it created.

There is no magic debt number that collapses the US economy.

If US taxpayers and their government--no longer wish to bailout Wall Street gamblers--and save many billions of dollars --might I suggest FDR's Glass-Steagall- -and our orderly Chapter 11 bankruptcy process over massacring entitlements--t he disabled and elderly-- to satisfy Wall Street's gambling debts.

I wish President Obama agreed with me--not in rhetoric--but in practice.
-1 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-12-07 07:02
Billy Bob, the way to save Medicare is to end the embargo on Cuba. Americans flock to dangerous Mexico and sometimes the Dominican Republic to stretch Social Security dollars,

The date of currency collapse is an unknon, the financial shock of embargoes and boycotts clearly would make such a possibility far sooner.

Businesses just like to pay off pirates unless things get out of hand. It is piracy for the US to fine European banks for laundering the US embargo of Cuba. When it come to Iran, whether this is also true is in dispute. Since not only no Gold but no real thousands of stacks of $20s, as soon as the same money is argued both in a Dutch Bank and in US hands at the same time, the exchange rate between the dollar and the Euro would be an unknown..

Without the blockade the Cuba would want something for taking care of the American disabled, and the US would offer passes for Cubans to receive intensive care in the US, and the world as it should be with different systems and values in different places.
+3 # engelbach 2012-12-07 10:02
Many of us on Social Security have gone to Mexico. But it isn't dangerous for ex-pats.

And although the Mexican government doesn't have accurate figures, probably not for Mexican civilians either. With few exceptions, the victims are almost certainly all connected with the drug cartels.

The big personal beef we have with the U.S. government is that we have paid into Medicare and continue to pay premiums, but Medicare will not reimburse us for medical care outside of the United States.
+1 # Martintfre 2012-12-07 15:48
Interesting, move/retire to Mexico -- I have toyed with the thought of moving to Costa Rico since I had such a nice vacation there and cost are lower
+4 # rockieball 2012-12-08 08:53
The only ones that are worried about this seem to be the rich. We go back to the Clinton era taxes which as I recalled that era had a surplus and was paying down the national debt. The Republicans and the corporate owned media want the aver person to think that this whole country will shut down. Well it won't. I'll be here, you'll be here. We will go to work or to school or to whatever just like always. The difference in what my tax rate will go to amounts to very little. Sort of like that great rebate when Bush gave the surplus to the rich who did not pay income taxes to begin with. I think the check for me and my wife came to about $300. My daughter got $32. If I recall they even asked if we wanted it or not.
It's the greedy rich crying to their Republican puppets to do a McCarthy like Red scare and it's people like the Tea Party idiots that are buying it. I say lets take the jump and see what happens.

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