Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Will UK Interest Rate Rises Crash House Prices? - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Full on Crash Alert for Major World Stock Markets... - Clive_Maund
3.Gold And Silver Market Bottoming? Big Rally Imminent? Reality Check Says NO - Michael_Noonan
4.The Coming Silver Price Rally Will Outperform All Previous Ones - Hubert_Moolman
5.The Trigger For The Upcoming Stock Crash - Harry_Dent
6.Imploding Department Store Results - James_Quinn
7.Dr. Copper is Speaking, are you Listening? ... - Rambus_Chartology
8.Pandemonium in the Stock Market, Dow falls 1,000 points in a week - EWI
9.Asia's Whirling Dervish of Devaluations Has Encircled China's Exports - Keith_Hilden
10.China Weakens the Yuan; Rattles Global Stock and Financial Markets - Gary_Dorsch
Last 5 days
OPEC Divorce And Self-Destruction Thanks To Saudi Crude Oil Strategy? - 1st Sept 15
The Beginning Of A New Financial / Stock Market Cycle - 1st Sept 15
Three Things Every Master Trader Knows About Trading Options - 1st Sept 15
Chinese Yuan Revolution? - 1st Sept 15
Take Advantage of Record-High Auto Sales… Before This Bubble Bursts - 1st Sept 15
Pondering Hitler's Legacy - 1st Sept 15
Mainstream Media Goes Berserk - 1st Sept 15
Your Decisive Stock Market Plan to Follow Whilst Most Investors Shiver With Fear - 1st Sept 15
Are There Stock and Financial Markets Investing Opportunities For The Remainder Of 2015 - 1st Sept 15
Crude Oil Price Forecast 2015 and 2016 - 1st Sept 15
REPO Window Hidden $Trillion QE Monthly Volume - 31st Aug 15
Silver and Warnings From Exponential Markets - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market Calls Fed’s Bluff - 31st Aug 15
Why Some ETFs Led the Stock Markets Down Last Week - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market Collapse - Take The Opportunity To Bail Before It’s Too Late! - 31st Aug 15
The Most Important Market Chart on The Planet - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market 50% Retracement - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market Crash Red Alert for 2nd Downwave... - 31st Aug 15
Independant Scotland 1 Year on, UK Civil War If the SNP Fanatics Had Succeeded - 30th Aug 15
Gold’s 7 Point Broadening Top - 30th Aug 15
The Day the Stock Market Shook the Earth: Takeaways From the Dow’s 1,000-Point Drop - 30th Aug 15
Gold Price Rally Marked by Short Covering - 30th Aug 15
Aging Stocks Bull Market - 29th Aug 15
Economic Destabilization, Financial Meltdown and the Rigging of the Shanghai Stock Market? - 29th Aug 15
The Stocks You Should Be Buying After the Market Drop - 29th Aug 15
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Market Fluctuations - 28th Aug 15
China's Yuan Devaluation: Why It Was "Expected" - 28th Aug 15
Stocks Go Nuts But the Question Remains – Will the Rally Stick? - 28th Aug 15
Fed’s Stock Market Levitation is Failing - 28th Aug 15
The Eight Energy Systems Driving The Stock Market Rout - 28th Aug 15
Silver Sold, then Squeezed - 28th Aug 15
U.S. Economic Fundamentals 'Look Good' - Bullard of St. Louis Fed - 28th Aug 15
Stock Market Margin Calls Mount - 28th Aug 15
Einstein, Physics, Gold and The Formula To End Economic Decay - 28th Aug 15
The 10 Best Stocks for Options Trading Plays in This Market - 28th Aug 15
Economics of a Stock Market Crash - 28th Aug 15
Currency Wars Detonate; Gold Refuses to Budge - 28th Aug 15
UK Immigration Crisis Hits New Record, Trending Towards Becoming a Catastrophe - 28th Aug 15
The Ultimate Cash-Management Guide - 27th Aug 15
Why a Fed Rate Hike Could Be a Blessing for Gold Prices - 27th Aug 15
Why Devaluing the Yuan Won't Help China's Economy - 27th Aug 15
Stock Market Trend & Trade Signal Of the Decade - 27th Aug 15
Keep Your Eye On the Gold and Silver Bear - 27th Aug 15
Refugees Expose Europe’s Lack Of Decency - 27th Aug 15
How to Profit from China's Currency War - 27th Aug 15
How China's Currency Policies Will Change the World - 27th Aug 15
Chinese Medicine not Impressing Dr Copper - 27th Aug 15
Novel Biotech Novel Technology Platforms with Dramatic Growth Potential - 27th Aug 15
China Stocks Bear Market Crash, Are We Near the Bottom Yet? - 27th Aug 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Global Stocks Slide

It’s Only a Fiscal Slope Not a Cliff!

Stock-Markets / Financial Markets 2013 Dec 28, 2012 - 11:35 AM GMT

By: Sy_Harding

Stock-Markets

Why are Congress and the White House not panicked about the looming fiscal ‘cliff’? Why has the Dow pulled back only 2% rather than plunging 2,000 points as time to forge an agreement by year-end has foolishly dwindled down to just a couple of days, and odds of it happening have become remote?


Probably because the markets and politicians are aware that the economy is not going to suddenly plunge over a cliff into an abyss on January 2 if an agreement has not been reached by then.

Fed Chairman Bernanke did the country a disservice in February when he used the term ‘fiscal cliff’ to describe the problems the economy would begin to face at year-end. The media was even more irresponsible by jumping on the phrase with such fear-inducing drama as year-end approached.

It’s true that if an agreement isn’t reached by year-end, tax increases and spending cuts will begin to kick in which if not amended fairly quickly, would begin to remove roughly $600 billion from the economy next year, enough to take an estimated 2% to 3% out of GDP growth and potentially put the economy into a recession.

However, it isn’t that the $600 billion will abruptly disappear from the economy on January 2 in a cliff-drop plunge.

Some effects would take place quite quickly, such as the loss of unemployment benefits for the long-unemployed if the extended benefit period is allowed to expire.

But most of the effects would come out of economic activity over the course of the year, at approximately $50 billion a month, as employees find less in their paychecks due to income-tax increases, investors pay higher taxes on their dividends as they are received through the year, and pay higher capital gains taxes if and as they sell holdings through the year. And of course businesses would receive fewer orders through the year as federal spending cuts increasingly take effect, resulting in lay-offs.

For instance, it’s been pointed out that tax-payers would face an increase in combined taxes of approximately $500 billion in 2013. But that does not mean taxpayers would send a check to the IRS for their share on January 2. It means that if an agreement is not reached fairly soon into the new year the average taxpayer would see their taxes increase by about $3,440 for the year.

Further, keep in mind that is an average. Those who can most easily afford it would pay the most. Remember the complaints when the Bush era tax cuts became law, that the richest were getting by far the biggest benefits? Well, having those cuts expire would bring those chickens home to roost, as the biggest tax increases would fall back on those richest tax-payers. It’s estimated that those with taxable income (after all deductions) of $10,000 would see an annual tax increase of $217 ($18 a month), those between $50,000 and $75,000 an average annual increase of $2,399, those earning $500,000 to $1 million an average increase of $38,969, and those earning over $1 million an average increase of $254,637.

Not only would those increases not be an over-a-cliff event but spread over the year, they would probably not kick in right away in January for most working people. Most employers would wait until the IRS gets around to calculating new withholding rates and sends out notices.

I’m not saying that politicians are not self-serving idiots in the way they have once again inflicted needless stress on the country. Nor am I saying that some damage has not already been done to the economy as a result of the uncertainties the delay has created.

But the stress that has been put in the minds of many on Main Street (and some investors), that if an agreement is not reached by year-end they will wake up Tuesday morning to an economy that is a heap of rubble at the bottom of a cliff, is a huge exaggeration.

I even like the thought that allowing the economy to go over the supposed cliff for a few days will make it easier for a better agreement to be reached.

Right now to reach agreement politicians have to debate how much to allow taxes to rise and for whom, apparently difficult for many. But once large tax increases kick in at year-end for everyone when the Bush-era tax cuts expire automatically, they will be debating how much to cut taxes to correct the situation, more appealing to their politicking nature of trying to look like they’re working to help their constituents.

So the markets (and yes even the politicians) just might have it right by not panicking at this point.  

Sy Harding is president of Asset Management Research Corp., and editor of the free market blog Street Smart Post.

© 2012 Copyright Sy Harding- All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Sy Harding Archive

© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Biggest Debt Bomb in History