by Nick Bahash
The year is almost over. That means a wicked awesome NYE party is quickly approaching. But something else is approaching that’s not so wicked awesome. The fiscal cliff. You’ve probably heard this term mentioned at some point while accidentally watching/reading the news. So, what is the fiscal cliff? Is it really that serious? It sounds boring, why should I even care? Wait, is it an actual cliff?
Sadly, the best way to answer these questions is by watching/reading the news. But I’m here to make this somewhat enjoyable. What better way to learn about economics and politics than with a drinking game? This is the fiscal cliff drinking game.
As you watch/read the news, drink when:
1. Anyone calls the fiscal cliff something other than the fiscal cliff.
Fiscal cliff is the most popular term used to describes what happens when January 1st rolls around and the Budget Control Act of 2011 goes into effect, which dramatically cuts government spending and raises taxes. But, pundits love to get creative and try to separate themselves from the crowd when attempting to describe this mess. True story, it was called the bermuda triangle at one point. Search hard and drink harder.
2. It’s compared to armageddon.
Not the movie. Well, sure, the movie. But at midnight on December 31st, 2012, $600 billion per year in automatic spending cuts and tax increases will be triggered. And this very well could severely stunt economic growth and drive us deep into recession. Recession is that thing that happened a couple years ago where everyone was jobless and losing all their money. Remember that? Yea, this is a serious thing, but some tend to make it out to be the Mayan prophesied end of the world. Which, if you’re reading this, obviously hasn’t happened… Yet.
How scary is it? A recent Powerball Lottery winner is choosing to collect the winnings now and not next year. Why? You got it. Because of the fiscal cliff’s looming possible tax increases.
3. Barack Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent.
The only reason fiscal cliff exists is because Congress couldn’t compromise on a deficit/revenue plan two years ago. So to force themselves to compromise, they created the Budget Control Act of 2011. Meaning if they don’t come together with a plan in time, we plummet off the fiscal cliff like Sarah in “Cliff Hanger.” And not even Stallone can save us.
Ok, so the Democrat plan hinges on increasing revenue by raising taxes on the top 2 percent. And they won’t budge on that.
4. The Republicans say “Awww Hell No!”
Yea, the Republicans don’t really want to raise taxes on anyone. Instead, they’d like to get rid of some tax loopholes and deductions, which raises tax revenue without raising tax rates.
5. John Boehner wants to slash entitlements.
The Republican plan hinges on cutting entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. And they won’t budge on that.
6. The Democrats say “Awww Hell No!”
Yup, the Democrats don’t really want to cut entitlement spending. Instead, they want the most revenue to come from returning taxes on the top 2 percent back to Clinton era tax rates and spend more stimulus on infrastructure.
Basically you should just drink now:
7. You realize the fate of the country is basically in the hands of children who don’t like to share.
The Dems and Reps can’t agree or work together on anything. They both keep rejecting opposing plans, calling them “unserious.” Regardless of concessions on tax cuts or entitlement spending or whatever, a meaningful compromise is unlikely. Basically, we the people are screwed. And it looks like the Powerball winner made a smart move. But at least now, we can drink to that.
8. You find the silver lining in all this, because Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are killing it with all this material.
Watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are by far the most entertaining ways to keep up with all the fiscal cliff happenings.
So, do your country a favor and take the few remaining days of the year to not buy last minute gifts for your loved ones and learn about the fiscal cliff. Oh, and drink a lot too. Happy holidays to all, and to all a happy holiday!