I’m not sure if Mark Mardell and Jonny Dymond spotted the four horsemen of the apocalypse over Washington but the tone and content of their Fiscal Cliff has certainly been full of doom and gloom and worst of all, in my opinion, wilful exaggeration.

Mardell in particular has been to the fore in alleging that IF a deal was not to be done by Jan 1st then massive tax hikes will descend upon the American people. Not so. US Tax returns do not even have to be until end of February, as I recall, and it would take some time for the necessary tax adjustments to be made assuming nothing was to happen politically in the intervening months. It could well be seen that Mardell was simply hyping the whole issue and painting Obama and the Dems as voices of  calm responsibility seeking to do a deal whilst the bad recalcitrant GOP refuse to pay ball.  No mention  from Mardell of the $16 TRILLION debt bomb that Obama has racked up, or the $87 TRILLION in unfunded liabilities. Instead plenty of hype about the £1.2trn cut in Goverenment spending OVER ten years. Shouldn’t the BBC provide the FULL fiscal picture rather than a skewed version seen through an Obama prism?

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  1. Sir Arthur Strebe-Grebling says:

    It looks like the end result is more of Obama’s socialism: tax increased for the rich while the government continues to spend money that it doesn’t have.


  2. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Not quite, Alan. First of all, US taxes for the previous year are due on April 15 of every year, not February. More importantly, the tax rises for this year will start immediately, and people will see less take-home pay in their next paycheck. For most people, Federal and State taxes (and Social Security, etc.) are deducted automatically from paychecks. So everyone will feel the pain starting next week. That’s the reality. The self-employed and wealthy whose income comes mostly from capital gains won’t feel it right away, but the majority of the country will take in the gut now.

    All the budget cuts which are supposedly going to destroy the economy have been kicked down the road a couple months. Lots of horse-trading to be done on that score.

    Oh, and the heroic Obamessiah actually go the Senate to approve a $620 billion tax increase on top of it last night, and the Republicans in the House are going to have to approve something similar in the next couple days.

    Mardell has never blamed the President for any problems in the economy. At best he’s fretted on rare occasions that He hasn’t done enough to create jobs. Otherwise, Mardell has said over and over again that the President’s economic policies are the correct ones. As he told the BBC College of Journalism in 2011, the President is “the last Keynesian standing”, and Brits would approve. It’s only the crypto-racists who don’t like it, you see. That’s why he was visibly upset on air when reporting the Republicans’ sort-of victory over the President in that debt agreement.

    The President has already declared this to be the most significant tax policy change in 20 years, and will be demanding even more tax increases in the coming weeks. The deconstruction of the United States of America has begun in earnest. All so The Obamessiah can go down in the history books as the man who transformed the world.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Sorry, wrong author. David V, most people will feel the tax pain right away. April is for last year’s taxes, nothing to do with the current situation. Mardell is still pathetic, though.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Forgot to add payroll taxes are going up, which affects everyone, hitting the poorest and most vulnerable hardest.


  3. John Anderson says:

    The US budget has calculated that there could be $1 in cuts for every $45 in extra taxation,

    So that is what Obama calls “balanced” ?

    The problem is excessive spending, not too little taxation. The real cliff is still there, no matter what the vote in the House.

    And Obama said explicitly in his appalling press conference a couple of days ago that he will not yield on any real spending cuts without further increases in taxation.

    Why don’t BBC reporters tell us this ? It is all plain – it is real news, real fact, not White House spin


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      The Beeboids approve of the spending. They don’t see it as a problem at all. Although the current reports were probably all cranked out before they had a chance to read the CBO preliminary score.

      No matter what, though, all of them, from Flanders to Davis, all the way down to Mardell, share this tax/borrow/spend ideology, so they really don’t see the need to portray this negatively. To them, tax increases and more debt is the way to solve everything.

      Of course, Mardell and his colleagues will continue to report that only the Republicans are taking policy positions due to ideology rather than practicality. Mardell has said before the they’re against tax and spending increases due to ideology. But he’s never once said that the President wants to tax the rich not because it will fix the debt (it’ll barely put a dent in our interest payments), but because of His ideology. Mardell’s own ideology prevents him from seeing this.


    • Span Ows says:

      The real cliff is still there…yep



  4. John Anderson says:

    One US commentator is suggesting that Obama does not give primacy to economic policy – he wants to stake out a claim as a messianic reforming figure. So in his first term he put ObamaCare before trying to fix the economy properly. And now he says (in his interview with David Gregory on Sunday) that his first priority for his second term is immigration reform.

    Best batten down the hatches. The US economy will not bounce back if Obama is allowed to damage the economy further. His 4 years of economic stagnation – the longest recession since the 1930’s – will drag on for years yet.

    Heaven help America – and us.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I read that as well. Nothing we didn’t know already, really. But I did notice that York quoted Larry Summers’ admiration of the President for letting us all suffer for a while longer because He was going for the history books instead. Larry Summers was the mentor of BBC economics editor Stephanie Flanders, so you can pretty much bet that the BBC admires Him for this as well.

      He’s already got some Republicans to cave on tax increases, and is gunning for lots more. Plus He wants to ban gun ownership while He’s at it. I’m sure the Beeboids see Him as well on the way to becoming the one of the greatest Presidents, and certainly the most heroically transformative, in US history.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I should add that every re-elected President goes for legacy stuff, so He’s not unique in that. But He did it in His first term as well, and truly believes in what He’s doing now.


  5. Span Ows says:

    The 8 votes against included 3 Democrats; will Mardell mention it? perhaps.


  6. Jeff Waters says:

    A further lovely piece of objective analysis from Mark Mardell:

    ‘Officially, the US has tumbled over the fiscal cliff. But we don’t yet know what the impact will be. It is possible, even likely, that it will float gracefully upwards again, wafted on the winds of Congressional approval. Then again, disgruntled Republicans in the House could send it crashing to the ground, with a sickening thump.’

    He goes on:

    ‘There are unhappy Democrats, as well. But their party had its act together and their president had a plan. The Republicans look passionate but rudderless, mistaking ardour for strategy.’




    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      In cases like this, Mardell is little more than a color commentator at a football game. He talks about winners vs losers, plans and tactics. He’s a political junkie, that’s it. I guess that’s important to some people, but it’s not particularly informative.

      Alternative viewpoint, from a Harvard economist (same place Stephanie Flanders and Ed Balls learned their craft, not Fox News, not Breitbart):

      The Neverending Quest for a More Redistributionist Tax System


  7. AsISeeIt says:

    BBC News 24 talks to their favourite economist – ultra-Keynesian David Blanchflower. Still no one in this conversation can bring themselves to utter the word DEBT.


  8. harryurz says:

    Reminds me of another American’s comment; “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretence of taking care of them.” -Thomas Jefferson