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Official Media Misinformation

John Avlon is a CNN Contributor, which is what CNN calls the ‘pundits’ they have on their staff. He has written a ‘centrist’ op-ed: Beware the fiscal cliff deniers.

An editor included these STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • John Avlon says a combination of tax increases, budget cuts could harm economy
  • He says the fiscal cliff is being minimized by partisans on left and the right
  • Newt Gingrich, Paul Krugman among those saying a deal to avert cliff isn’t urgent
  • Avlon: This is the kind of extreme thinking that led the U.S. to lose its AAA credit rating

Avlon is not an economist. He has an MBA from Columbia, but has worked as speech writer for Rudy Giuliani and other writing jobs, not in business. His association with Giuliani is apparently enough to qualify him to have space on CNN’s front page.

There is no ‘cliff’. The changes will take months to even be felt. The return to Clinton tax rates will have minimal effect on the economy, as has been studied and shown by multiple groups, including the CBO. The budget cuts will affect the economy, and will force the US back into recession, as we already know from watching the effects of similar cuts in Europe.

It isn’t impossible for two people as politically separate Gingrinch and Krugman to agree on things, especially if what they are agreeing on is factually true. The so-called ‘cliff’ was a creature of politicians, and most of their creatures are mythological.

The level of Avlon’s knowledge is on display in his reference to the downgrading of the bond rating of the US. That action has had absolutely no effect at all. So many people want US bonds that some of them have negative interest rates, i.e. they are paying the US to take their money. Maybe we should have applied for a downgrade years ago. 😈

The problem for Avlon and other centrists is that if no deal is reached and nothing bad happens, people will figure out that they are ‘false prophets’ and should be driven from the land. Avlon doesn’t offer a plan, or even an outline of how to ‘fix’ things, he just wants a deal so that he can continue his cushy job by claiming that he was ‘right’. He shouldn’t worry, pundits never actually pay a price for being wrong.


1 Steve Bates { 12.06.12 at 5:00 pm }

“The problem for Avlon and other centrists is that if no deal is reached and nothing bad happens, people will figure out that they are ‘false prophets’ and should be driven from the land.”

Do you really think so? Of course there is no “cliff”; it’s a fabrication to serve the interests of the already-wealthy in their pursuit of, what else, more wealth. But the kinds of people who believe in a “fiscal cliff” have a motto something like this: “Fool me once… fool me again a month from now.” It’s not stupidity; it’s a baldfaced willingness to be fooled, rather the way Republicans believed their pollsters who told them that Rmoney was a sure winner on 11/6.

Some re-education may be necessary in economics. A lot more re-education requires a change in attitude that I don’t see forthcoming right away. Expect all of us to be badly burned before some of us comprehend the dangers of fire.

2 Bryan { 12.06.12 at 9:55 pm }

Ellroon has a video of Chris Hayes going ballistic on this mess because , as he points out, if the ‘deficit’ is the apocalyptic event that the Village claims, how can the ‘fiscal cliff’ also be the Apocalypse, since it reduces the deficit.

Of course people who actually understand the economy don’t think the deficit will be a problem for some time, and the only problem with the ‘fiscal cliff’ is that it will eventually lead to a recession, a la 1937.

You are correct, too many people in this country don’t understand how things work, and the media and politicians aren’t interested in actually explaining things, mostly because they don’t understand how things work.

Duncan keeps saying – people got no jobs, people got no money. Demand is in the tank, and the private sector isn’t going to hire until it needs to to meet the demand for their products.