Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.North Korean Chinese Proxy vs US Military Empire Trending Towards Nuclear War! - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Researchers Find $10 Billion Hidden Treasure In A Dead Volcano - OilPrice_Com
3.Gold and Silver : The Battle for Control - Rambus_Chartology
4.Asda Sales Collapse and Profits Crash! UK Retailer Sector Crisis 2017 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Deep State Conspiracy or Chaos - James_Quinn
6.The Stock Market Guns of August, Trade Set-Up & Removing your Rose Tinted Glasses - Plunger
7.Gold Stocks Coiled Spring - Zeal_LLC
8.Neil Howe: The Amazon-Walmart Rivalry Will Determine the Future of Retail - John_Mauldin
9.Crude Oil Price Precious Metals Link in August - Nadia_Simmons
10.Gold and Silver Precious Metals Nearing Breakout - Jordan_Roy_Byrne
Last 7 days
Global Financial Crisis 10 Years On: Gold Rises 100% from $650 to $1,300 - 23rd Aug 17
GBP/USD Extends Losses - 23rd Aug 17
Donald Trump Terrorist in Chief, “We Aren’t Nation-Building Again, We Are Killing Terrorists” - 23rd Aug 17
How Planned Fed Rate Increases Impact The National Debt & Deficits - 23rd Aug 17
The 3 Assets to Add to Your Stocks Portfolio in This Rate Tightening Cycle - 23rd Aug 17
Half Price UK Theme Parks Entry 2017 With Cheap Chocolate Packs - 23rd Aug 17
[GIFT] Market Control System! - 23rd Aug 17
4 Reasons European Stocks Will Make a Big Comeback This Year - 22nd Aug 17
3 Lesser-Known Charts Revealing a Massive Stock Market Disconnect - 22nd Aug 17
U.S. Treasury Secretary: "I Assume Fort Knox Gold Is Still There" - 22nd Aug 17
Is the Stock Market Setting itself up for a Spectacular Crash? - 22nd Aug 17
Power Elites Launches Civil War Against Trump - 22nd Aug 17
The Stock Market No Longer Cares About Trump - 21st Aug 17
The Coming Boom Of Productivity Will Get Our Economy Back On Track - 21st Aug 17
Buffett Sees Stock Market Crash Coming? His Cash Speaks Louder Than Words - 21st Aug 17
This Could Be The Biggest Gold Discovery In History - 21st Aug 17
Stock Market Correction in Full Swing - 21st Aug 17
Seeking Confirmations – US Stock Market - 21st Aug 17
The changing demographic of online gamblers - 21st Aug 17
Gold is a coiled spring… the breakout is here, fundamentals are in place, technicals are compelling - 20th Aug 17
A Midsummer Night's Dream: Buy Gold and Silver - 20th Aug 17
Gold Mining Stocks 2017 Fundamentals - 20th Aug 17
EIA Weekly Report and Crude Oil - 19th Aug 17
4 Insights for Adjusting Your Portfolio in a Rate-hike Environment - 19th Aug 17
Gold Direction Indicator - 19th Aug 17
Historical Inevitability and Gold and Silver Ownership - 19th Aug 17
You Are Being Lied To About “Low” Gold Demand - 19th Aug 17
This is Why Cocoa's Crash Was a Perfect Setup - 19th Aug 17
Gold, Silver Consolidate On Last Weeks Gains, Palladium Surges 36% YTD To 16 Year High - 19th Aug 17
North Korea Is Far From Being Irrational… It Has A Plan - 18th Aug 17
US Civil War - FUNCTIONAL ILLITERATES TRYING TO ERASE HISTORY - 18th Aug 17
Bitcoin Hits New All-Time High Over $4,400 As It Catches Paypal In Total Market Cap - 17th Aug 17
3 Psychological Ingredients behind Great Web Content - 17th Aug 17
The War on Cash - Rogoff, Orwell and Kafka - 17th Aug 17
The Stock Market Guns of August, Trade Set-Up & Removing your Rose Tinted Glasses - 16th Aug 17
Stocks, Bonds, Interest Rates, and Serbia, Camp Kotok 2017 - 16th Aug 17
U.S. Stock Market: Sunrise ... Sunset - 16th Aug 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

3 Videos + 8 Charts = Opportunities You Need to See - Free

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

© 2005-2017 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

Catching a Falling Financial Knife