A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Fiscal Cliff

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box,

“If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times; do not fan the girls when they're wet! But you'll never learn; you'll be a eunuch all your life.”

There are 16 days left before we all shoot over the falls and are plunged into the freezing water. The markets are pretending it will never happen and that some magical incantation will be found to set everything right in the moments before we take the dive. The lethargy is noticeable and the apathy is like someone has thrown the wet towel of complacency over everyone’s shoulders. The crowd meanders. The mob is a headless jumble of people and the clock ticks and ticks and does not stop ticking. The unknown is recognized but like some mindless lemming staring at the cliff I do not think that many understand the gravity of the situation.

Lycus: “Is it contagious?”

Pseudolus: “Have you ever seen a plague that wasn’t?”

In the best case scenario, according to most people, some agreement will be reached. I hate to even agree that this is the best case but this is what almost everyone thinks and so I will go along with it for the moment. This best case scenario however includes an assumption that I do not believe will be correct which is that something formulated by common sense will be the result and it is just there that I hold little hope. To be quite open; I am more frightened of what our political leaders might concoct than what we face at the cliff. The Democrats cry for more stimulus in a time when we cannot afford the stimulus and the social programs we now have but “more money” seems to be the only words in their vocabularies these days. Ok, they can also say “tax the rich” but it is a limited amount of words that they speak now.

It’s against the law of the United States to take one’s own life. The penalty is death.

Obama claims a mandate. Who gave him this mandate one may reasonable ask; the 47.5 million people on food stamps, the people living on the tax benefits of those that work, the people who game the system so that they never have to find a job and enjoy a life paid for by those that are gainfully employed? That is one heck of a mandate isn’t it and yet that is the basis of his claim. Given his “claim to fame” then what is it that we should expect if some agreement is, in fact, reached? Well, boys and girls, it is going to be higher taxes, maybe taxing Municipal Bonds, perhaps some new financial transaction tax, maybe a dividend tax or an income tax on interest received but whatever it is it will be designed to make the people that work and make money poorer. It will be Nottingham and the Sherwood Forest and robbing the rich to give to the poor which is a wonderful fairy tale but hardly a logical plan to run the country or perhaps it is a fine way to run the country if your object is to run it aground.

Pseudolus: “Calm yourself down. I’ll tell you when it is time to panic.”

Miles Gloriosus: “I smell mischief here.”

Pseudolus: “It’s time!”

I am slowly coming to the opinion that the best that can be hoped for is that we do plunge off the cliff. Maybe that will wake up some of the intoxicated with themselves people we now find living in Washington. It also might have a further benefit of waking up the citizens of the country who seem to be traipsing around like nothing is amiss. Nothing is amiss, of course, just ask Nancy Pelosi who will tell you that it is now “a ms.” The other problem is that our politicians are secretly whispering in the corridors. They have convinced themselves that even if we do go off the cliff that there is a tourist stop about half way down where they can stop and ask for directions. It has gotten so bad now in Washington D.C. that recently when one of our Democratic Congressmen announced that his wife was going into labor that the response from the floor was “well, some people have to work.”

Pseudolus: “A common courtesan in the house of Lycus?”

Hero: “Is that bad?”

Pseudolus: “There is no way to make it sound like an achievement.”

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thedrickster's picture

It's redundant, these are the essence of governance.


SKY85hawk's picture

You all are losing sight of the real problem!

The corporation, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, has exempted itself from all GAAP rules of fiscal management. Proper accruals and timely reporting of the true condition of our country's finances would have woken people up many years ago.

America's politicians are just like Europe's

"We all know what to do, we just don't know how to get re-elected after we have done it."

-Jean-Claude Junker

Finally, I wish Marc would remind his readers that Obama signed the 2011 Budget Deal.

If Barry was true to his campaign promises, he would have vetoed the expiration of Bush tax cuts for the NON-wealthy.

The Joker's picture

Indeed, a grand bargain it is.

Ghordius's picture

duh. "America's politicians are just like Europe's" how I hate this kind of proto-fascist and anti-democratic nonsense

if you have the franchise than you have a popularity contest going on - ergo a political leadership that is a reflection of the electorate

encapsulated in "every country has the government it deserves"

nevertheless, this and other frank and blunt words from Junker are constantly used out of context

do you have any important politicians in the US that are this frank? NO

can a politician ever admit to lying in the US? NO - in fact if in the US you admit any weakness or mistake you are history

can you do gov's work with such skittish markets like the last years without lying? NO - particularly when a lot is still to be agreed upon

just as a reminder: J-C J was and still is the freaking Prime Minister of a country (that you might not even know about) for freaking 17 years, four general elections and half a dozen coalitions and his electorate still appreciates him - including the role he had in the eurogroup, his lying at that time and his admission afterwards

but all you know is two phrases that would sink every US politician and that for you all gov is anyway a corporation (which just shows how powerful corporations are where you come from) and a scam (which philosophically speaking is true, but that is another story)

end of rant

Zap Powerz's picture

We are in debt 16+ Trillion dollars. We have a negative income to debt ratio. We add about a trillion more every year currently.  The cost of running the government and servicing the existing debt is increasing exponentially.  Tax revenues are decreasing.

What part of this situation seems even remotely fixable?

Answer: None.  It is not fixable. Its just math.  I dont care what those smegma eating pederasts in Washington DC do, there is no way to fix this kind of broken.

So, what are we going to do? Nothing.  What do you do when 2 seconds before you hit the ground after falling off a cliff?  Nothing.  You just crash and die.  That is going to happen to the USA. It will die. It will cease to exist as we now know it.  It can be replaced by something better or something much worse.  That will be the part we have control over.

asteroids's picture

People really have no idea how much $1T is or how much human sweat it's going to take to pay it off.

Vashta Nerada's picture

There is a way to fix it - cut spending by 40% and perform triage on federal programs to meet the budget.  It won't happen until the borrowing and printing are forced by reality to stop. 

Seer's picture

Well stated.

Math and physics trump all, and, they're calling us from the bottom of the cliff.

Blasting the predicament is easy.  Pretending that there's any "solution," especially coming from anyone in the status quo crowd (which includes all the talking-heads [who live OFF of the very stuff they are blasting]), is the height of absurdity.

"Men argue, nature acts." - Voltaire

Clesthenes's picture

You wrote, “It will cease to exist as we now know it. It can be replaced by something better or something much worse.

True.  Trouble is, hardly anyone understands that there are two kinds of revolution: one that advances the cause of tyranny; the other, liberty.

I call one a Bolshevik, the other, an American, revolution – after their most recent and spectacular examples.  Of thousands of rebellions and tax revolts in human history, only three have advanced the cause of liberty.

This should tell you that, if you prefer liberty, now is the time to learn the difference.

Seer's picture

And the American Revolution brought about what we have now...  If it was such a great premise then we wouldn't be in the predicament that we're in: it would never have been corruptible [yeah, like That's possible within the context of human nature!]. That it's taken longer to show up as a failure doesn't mean that it is good.

When more than "you're/we're free" was stated it means that it was never intended to be such, despite all the great flowery words to the contrary.

I prefer REAL liberty (not the stories passed down by elitists)- NO GOVERNMENT (no gods, no masters).

Liberty, rah, rah, rah... and when asked what one means by "liberty" it then becomes a bit more hazy, doesn't it? (all sort of holes are liable to be poked)  Fantasies are nice.

PianoRacer's picture

You keep using that word "we".

I do not think it means what you think it means.

Ending collectivist thinking - and by extension, language - is a necessary prerequisite to achieving freedom.

The fact that you want to replace this evil machine with anything is telling. WE do not need rulers.

The Joker's picture

Yes yes yes yes.  Anarchy, the anti-system, to benefit of all our freedoms.  Freedom from rulers and rules, from governance, from order, from structure, from business, from power, from health care.  Natural selection in it's purest form.  Ahhhhh, I love anarchists.

Seer's picture

Clearly you're being sarcastic (with your last sentence), as if you actually KNEW what anarchism was -the sole fundamental of being opposed to any form of oppressive coercion- you'd know that ANYTHING (as long as it didn't violate that one premise) is possible, that it is up to people to form and decide as they wish.

If you are being sarcastic then I could just as readily point out the absurdity of calling for "un-natural selection" as the goal.  I'm not seeing this as the way forward, the shining beacon of "liberty."

The Joker's picture

Oh no, it's not sarcasm.  I am a firm believer in natural selection as the highest form of reality.  All the intervention in natural selection (health care, social security, medicare, medicaid, political correctness, altruism, taking care of the needy, spreading the wealth, unemployment benefits, FDA, etc etc etc) are what really get under my skin.  Perhaps if all these interventions didn't take place then we could maintain a balanced population on earth and increase our fitness.  I am certainly not a proponent of unnatural selection.  How could we really evolve properly with it.  I'm with you Seer, I just hear the complaints about the current state of our being without being offered any hypothetical altered states of being, for human beings, everything being equal.

Element's picture

Personally, I don't give a fuck about natural-selection, or see its relevance to this, or to the notion that we have had any choice in suspending it, or that we have suspended it in some unnatural way. For fuck sake, humans and conscious quasi-intelligent primates are not foreign to this universe, it is a material emergent facet of it, so why do you think that what we do is 'unnatural' selection, even if we do alter selection trajectory?

That's still 100% natural-selection!

We are surviving at the expense of other critters niche in the food chain.  Fuckem, they're delicious!  And we're transforming the wild wolfie infested woods to something more akin to the British country-side, with no wolfies. Thus we're increasing the conditions for us, at the expense of other criters. We are expanding our niche within the global food chain.

Open your fucking eyes, that's an extraordinary example of natural-selection!  the most amazing example of it in the Earth's history. For crist sake, this is our planet, we are not interlopers here. Frankly, I think it a bit warped that radical greenies seem to think that we should reduce our niche and give it all back to wolfie, and go and die-out instead. Wankers. We can do without those degenerate 'progressive' fuckers for a start! :D  Progressive, but only if you're going in reverse!

Nor that our miserable little gene pools that we seek to arguably bless our offspring with are worth 2 fucking cents in any ultimately infinite measure.

There I said it. :D

The Joker's picture

Couldn't ANYTHING the people form and decide as they wish really be called a form of government?  A structered community, with rules and laws?  We did decide that, to excape oppressive coercion, and now the "new wine is dying on the vine".  Now what?

zapdude's picture

Word, from one Zap to another. 

I tried telling family members about the sheer insanity of it all over Thanksgiving, only to have them stare back like zombie sheeple. 

Meh, I'm slowly realizing that there's so little time left to react, awakening others at this late hour won't do much good...

Anomalous Howard's picture

going over the "cliff" = very, very nasty disruption

avoiding the "cliff" = very nasty disruption


both outcomes have adherents with rationalizations that work out to bullish


So...the artificial placement of something called "the cliff" into the timeline is bullish...just by being there.

Nasty disruption has been priced in for at least 3 years.

Al Huxley's picture

Here's a crazy-ass prediction for you - No deal will be reached, the deadline will be passed, and then MAGICALLY, loopholes will be found that allow the consequences of the cliff to be avoided.  There will be few, if any changes to taxation, and few, if any cuts to spending.  The debt ceiling will be raised, and a new 'deadline' will be established for the next act in this never-ending play.  Does nobody else remember any of the previous acts?

Seer's picture

And the final line from the closing act: "Didn't see it coming."

Al Huxley's picture

Yes, certainly.  But don't forget to preface your comment with 'spoiler alert', so as not to ruin it for the others.

gould's fisker's picture

I'm packing up and leaving town--the Myan's must be right if I agree with her on anything:


Shell Game's picture
"I am slowly coming to the opinion that the best that can be hoped for is that we do plunge off the cliff." This isn't the plunge you are looking for.  You can go about your business.  Move along.. The petrodollar plunge on the other hand...
A Lunatic's picture

Stop parroting the senseless hyperbole of the MSM. There is no "fiscal cliff".........

Anomalous Howard's picture

And it's not like this hasn't happened many times throughout history.

33AD also had its own "Leman moment" that prompted Tiberius to forfeit his own humongous wealth to try to stimulate an economy as fiat, fractional reserve banking hit the "cliff".

This time that type of stimulus moment hasn't been reached yet...but it will when the wave of debt forgiveness goes global and the .01% see all their wealth evaporate.



Al Huxley's picture

I see, so the .01% who have most of the wealth, and control the military, are suddenly going to give it up in a magnanimous gesture of debt forgiveness to pacify the masses?  You might want to consider other scenarios, like '21st century feudalism and serfdom'.  Just a thought.

Seer's picture

People have two options:

1) Fight TPTB for stuff that's not sustainable (and not in sufficient supply as to provide for the masses);


2) Shift away from it all, use your energies creating a new life (devoid of current TPTB, and, hopefully, pledged to not allowing the formation of a new TPTB).

Anomalous Howard's picture

Telly Savalis haircuts...repudiation...banks turning a blind eye to non-payment of mortgages...Norway...

It's already starting.



Anomalous Howard's picture

Why do you think Bush was told to say "Wall Street got drunk"?

Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:00pm BST

(Reuters) - President George W. Bush has an explanation for the housing market meltdown that has thrown the global economy into turmoil: Wall Street got drunk.

The writing is on the wall.

The Joker's picture

Now that's what I call funny.  Who plays the part of Tiberius?  Obama?  Rockefellaaaah? The Queen? Oh, I see, that's the what the Bilderberg as been meeting about, Plan B: Altruism.

Anomalous Howard's picture

The script we're following has been played out before....right down to the fed buying up bad mortgages as part of a "stimulus" plan.

History is a wonderful thing...if you look into it.  But most people think they're too smart to do that.



Clesthenes's picture

You wrote, “I am slowly coming to the opinion that the best that can be hoped for is that we do plunge off the cliff. Maybe that will wake up some of the intoxicated with themselves people we now find living in Washington. It also might have a further benefit of waking up the citizens of the country who seem to be traipsing around like nothing is amiss.”


Afraid not.  For the vast majority of men – like 95-98% - it is impossible for them to change beliefs or habits.  Once they have learned routines of their cave, they have exhausted their capacity for learning; they will die, or kill, rather than change beliefs or habits.  Such is the basis of totalitarianism.

As long as dissidents and unwilling slaves sit and wait for members of criminal and useful-idiot classes to drown or hang themselves, nothing in that direction will happen: it will continue to be more taxes, more regulation, more oppression, more outrages…

Men have wished for this nonsense for thousands of years… and history has yet to provide an example of it.  Did I say that the slow-witted never learn?

Once I came to this conclusion, I decided to search our history books for men and eras that advanced the cause of liberty.  I read 30,000 to 50,000 pages of man’s chronicle, and found only three eras of such – without which we all would be eating roots and leftovers from lion kills, and living in caves or trees.

Here is a short account of how a few men, so very few, brought down judges and tax collectors, bishops and kings who thought they had a divine right to impose taxes on other men without the latter’s consent; the same men who, 150 years later, would guide American Founders.

trav777's picture

what a bunch of hyperbolic nonsense

Seer's picture

"Men have wished for this nonsense for thousands of years… and history has yet to provide an example of it.  Did I say that the slow-witted never learn?"

No gods, no masters...

"I read 30,000 to 50,000 pages of man’s chronicle, and found only three eras of such – without which we all would be eating roots and leftovers from lion kills, and living in caves or trees."

We only THINK that we're more "evolved."  It's the greatest trick we've ever played on ourselves.  Pretending that exceeding the sustainable is sustainable.  Denigrating "eating roots and leftovers from lion kills, and living in caves or trees." is no more than a failure to skip past the entire premise of sustainability (and launching into the "perpetual growth on a finite planet" meme, which is what led us to where we are now).

Freddie's picture


"They train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won't allow them to write f*ck on their airplanes because it's obscene! "

Seer's picture

Kind of says it all, doesn't it?

Scribble between the lines, the lines dictated by your masters...

Element's picture

Come on seer, you go too far sometimes. You don't know what is sustainable and what is not, you just presume it.

If population plunges do you think we'll suddenly forget about agriculture? Fishing? Livestock? How to build?

Give the monkey some fucking credit! ;-)

Toolshed's picture

"Afraid not.  For the vast majority of men – like 95-98% - it is impossible for them to change beliefs or habits.  Once they have learned routines of their cave, they have exhausted their capacity for learning; they will die, or kill, rather than change beliefs or habits."

If the author of this total crap statement is not a female, he is doing a great impersonation of one. I am so fucking sick of men being portrayed as simpletons waiting around for some brilliant female to come along and "guide" them through life. You know, kinda like the government does with all of us. If the author is a male ( obviously not a man) he should turn in his penis.

/Soapbox off

Seer's picture

I read it more to say that humans tend to cling to that which they've been "taught" and are too hesitant to change horses in midstream, regardless of the realization that the horse is dying (because they've always been told that horses don't die).

My beef is that there was an underlying poke at sustainability (caves and such; but, I suppose, it could be a reference to Plato's Allegory of the Cave, which, well, who knows what the point was then... [we don't need to make things difficult via parables]) .  And, it's really quite hubristic to believe that the charade is better than reality (OK, yes, until the horse dies).

dbTX's picture

Off subject, but it's loking like we're having Turkey for Christmaas dinner this year.

rwe2late's picture


 Government out of money?

and yet the Fed has money to purchase about $85 billion per month of questionable assets from the TBTF banksters.

And that is funded by ... ?



Toolshed's picture

The Fed is a private bank.

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

The Fed can create USD's at will, they have the specific and exclusive authority to do so.  It's being funded by dollar devaluation, which is a form of taxation, except it's not being decided by elected representatives, so it's basically just straight up theft of the value of your work product.  

Seer's picture

"The Fed can create USD's at will, they have the specific and exclusive authority to do so."

Is that correct?  I thought that printing was supposed to happen at the request of the US Treasury?

"so it's basically just straight up theft of the value of your work product."

But... according to the perfect market theories the USD (and other currencies) should be dictated by the market.  That would mean that the value of the USD (and others) would be subject to change.  And it's "change" that's then responsible for altering your "work product."

Not arguing that there are elements (or even substantial truths) to what you are saying, but I have to question whether the alteration by free markets couldn't also result in what you're saying.

All stated, it's really kind of silly scrutinizing things at some small level when the very premise itself is based on the improbable: perpetual growth on a finite planet.

1eyedman's picture

as the WSJ indicated in Wed paper, the deficit 'could grow too slowly', as a % of GDP.   Wessel was the writer.   he basically said, no dont cut spending, we'll just grow our way out....going over the cliff will occur andnext year they will tweak items to get the favored their fav tax rates....and you heard it here most recently  'deficits dont matter'....per thw WSJ

OneTinSoldier66's picture

Government: An invention where everyone tries to live off of everyone else.

HardlyZero's picture

Waiting for Godot while the debt ceiling burns, and the floor drops out of the markets.  All in a large calliope playing flatbed truck financed by fiat and creative banking.  Better to get this all over with quickly to see what pops out the other side...like the Snake River Canyon in the Truax built Skycycle X-2....will we make it to the other side of the canyon ?  or will we spike through the center of the Earth to the other side ?   What will happen ?  when ?  Soon I hope while I am young, strong, and coherent.

The Joker's picture

There's a reason it's called Hell's Canyon, which sits just below the Seven Devils peaks.  Drink down some Southern Comfort and strap yourself in.