We are facing the largest tax increase in history—Taxmageddon, scheduled to take effect January 1—and what experts are calling a “fiscal cliff” of sharp and unforgiving budget changes that will send the country spiraling downward. Congress and the President have the power to prevent this, and when the August congressional recess is over, that is exactly what they should do.
In its new report, the CBO said that if Congress does not act, it’s not economic growth we should be worried about, because the economy will actually shrink next year. It will shrink by 0.5 percent, and the unemployment rate will spike to 9.1 percent. As Heritage’s J.D. Foster explains: “Forget percentages—what does this mean in actual jobs lost if President Obama and Congress fail to act? It means roughly 1.6 million more Americans will be out of work—on top of the 12.8 million who already want to work but can’t find jobs.”
Preventing Taxmageddon and the fiscal cliff are necessary just to keep the economy from taking a nosedive. The status quo isn’t attractive, but Congress certainly shouldn’t make things worse. If Congress moves to prevent the nosedive, the CBO projects that the economy will grow only slightly next year, at an anemic 1.7 percent, and the unemployment rate will remain stuck around 8 percent.
Why? The CBO report makes it clear: Our spending problem continues, and it’s driven mainly by the three major entitlements: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Spending on these programs will outpace tax revenue over the next decade.
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