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The fiscal cliff: a lemming's lunacy

Posted By Ilana Mercer On 11/29/2012 @ 7:43 pm In Commentary,Opinion | No Comments

Since the chicken-little metaphor is hackneyed, let us use the alleged lunacy of the lemming as a metaphor for the prattle that rises from the cattle that is America’s intelligentsia, in general, and on the fiscal cliff, in particular. “Alleged lunacy” because the idea that the adorable furry critter plunges periodically to its death, en masse, is a figment of another intellectual powerhouse: the think tank known as the Walt Disney Company.

From the late-night talk show hosts and their guests to the daytime cable news comedians and their hangers-on: All are discussing the country’s impending and “horrifying” collective tumble down the thing called the “fiscal cliff.”

As the fiscal-cliff chant goes, the country is headed for an economic precipice due to a bundle of laws that will take effect at the bewitching hour of midnight, Dec. 31, 2012. Only a compromise between our factioned overlords in D.C., who enacted the law in the first place, will avert mass suicide.

Let us unpack this linguistic construct.

At least some of the noisy nomenclature refers to a package of spending cuts, “deep, automatic cuts,” by Barron’s telling, bundled in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

About.com has counted “over 1,000 government programs – including the defense budget, Medicare” and unemployment benefits (99 weeks’ worth), as slated for slashing, and concedes that the “deficit, as a percentage of GDP, would be cut.”

“The federal budget deficit will be immediately cut in half, shrinking to approximately $641 billion in 2013 from the approximately $1.1 trillion in 2012,” estimates financier Peter Schiff. I’m inclined to think of this “budget sequestration” Wikipedia describes as “broad and shallow” as nothing more than cuts to designated increases in spending.

However you slice it, why, pray tell, is this a bad thing?

Even the country’s lying money mavens agree, on occasion, that cuts in state spending are good for the private, productive economy. Tie them to The Rack, and they will confess that unless U.S. government spending is slashed, we run the risk of becoming Greece. (The truth is that the tipping point has been reached. We are Greece in denial.)

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The country’s wise men have thus classified the government-cutting component of the fiscal free-fall as a catastrophe.

Let us continue to unpack this political portmanteau.

The next component in the fiscal-cliff equation is private property seizures (tax hikes). Although the U.S. government no longer pays for its obligations, it continues to borrow against the future earnings of its people. What was not borrowed or counterfeited by the Fed is confiscated from individual Americans.

Conveniently lost on the Republican quislings who are now weaseling out of their nominal commitment to refrain from additional theft of private property is the distinction between what is mine and what is thine: Taxes are private property plundered.

The fiscal-cliff deal includes the expiration of a temporary reprieve previously granted to private property. The Bush tax cuts will sunset, as will the temporary payroll tax cuts and certain tax breaks for businesses. Also to take effect are taxes tied to President Obama’s health-care behemoth.

It is alleged that to fail to confiscate this private property is to add $3.18 trillion to the national debt. The notion, however, that one must “pay for tax cuts” is ridiculous – the government here is the proverbial burglar promising to return stolen goods just as soon as he is in a better financial position. If anything, tax cuts for high-income earners, who also pay for most of the plunder, are nothing short of a return of stolen goods.

Loot plundered from individuals will invariably vanish into the federal maw, where all funds are fungible and none are accounted for.

What should be obvious to the few who understand the natural laws of economics is that slashing government, however symbolically, is to be encouraged; the confiscation of private property to be vehemently opposed.

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