Fiscal Cliff Secret: Time Travel

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Congress (file photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Congress (file photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

For months, economists and pundits have warned of the dire consequences of the going off the “fiscal cliff”. And while a compromise still may be struck by the Senate before the big ball drops in Times Square, odds are that we will go into 2013 while in free fall over the cliff.

However, a little publicized tool at the disposal of the government is time travel.

I realize that you might be thinking that I hit the holiday egg nog a little hard to have arrived at this theory, but allow me to explain.

Even if January 1st arrives without a deal, and the nation’s economy is indeed thrust over the fiscal cliff, Congress can act after January 1st and retroactively reverse any budget procedure.

Essentially, even if no deal is reached by the fabricated deadline, they can arrive at a deal sometime in January and erase all of the tax increases and funding cuts as if they never happened, as if Congress got into a time machine and averted the cliff altogether.

The fact that Congress can essentially reverse the affects of the fiscal cliff, or seemingly ignore gravity, has been under reported during this fabricated crisis. I call it a fabrication because it is not really a crisis if you can go back and fix it at any time.

Yes, there may be some real effects felt by the fiscal cliff deadline arriving, but since those same cuts can be rescinded, it’s logical that the effects of those cuts will reverse themselves as well.

So if Congress can rescind any of the cuts that occur on January 1st, why is there seemingly such a rush to put together a deal before the clock strikes twelve?

I personally think the urgency has two purposes.

One, without the urgency, a deal simply would never happen. We’re talking about Congress here. This institution is not known for its ability to stick to an agenda without a hard deadline. Anything that can be shelved by Congress will be shelved. So creating a “fiscal cliff” creates the only impetus that this country’s legislative body can react to, a ticking clock.

Two, the urgency also exacerbates the real game in Washington, which is politics. When a deadline is created, markets and taxpayers can react to it. That reaction can then spur longer term effects for both political parties. As it was in the election, the desired reaction will come from independent and unaffiliated voters. That is where the blame game can actually show some results.

What I mean is that when Democrats blame Republicans for the problems, or vice versa, they won’t change many minds among die hard Dems or GOPers. However, opinions can be influenced in the middle. And while we are two years away from another election, swaying even a little bit of opinion one way or the other can make a difference.

Beyond the reasons and ramifications for creating the fiscal cliff concept, I just hope that the Time Machine that Congress is counting on using later in 2013 can indeed reverse all of the problems and effects of big cliff.

They will need more than a Flux Capacitor to fix this one.About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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