Tags: Blankfein | Simpson | Bowls | cliff

Blankfein, Simpson, Bowles: Fiscal Cliff Could Derail US, Global Recovery

Thursday, 11 Oct 2012 01:45 PM

The United States is facing a one-two punch of tax hikes and spending cuts that could knock the economy into a recession next year and the government is doing nothing to prepare for it, said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Washington deficit advisors Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.

At the end of the year, the Bush-era tax cuts and other tax breaks are scheduled to expire at the same time automatic cuts to government spending kick in, a combination known as a fiscal cliff that could send the economy into a recession if left unchecked by Congress.

Lawmakers have been unwilling to address tax and spending issues in election year, but both sides better roll up their sleeves and deal with the sharp fiscal collision by early next year to steer the country away from decline.

Editor's Note: See the Disturbing Charts: 50% Unemployment, 90% Stock Market Crash, 100% Inflation

“People are never going to understand how critical this particular time in history is,” Bowles, co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and a former Chief of Staff under President Bill Clinton, told CNBC.

“We have $7.7 trillion worth of economic events that are going to hit America in the gut in December, and in Washington they’re doing nothing about it.”

Simpson, a former Republican Senator from Wyoming and also a co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, agreed, pointing out that both political parties are stalling.

“They’re both in this,” Simpson told CNBC alongside Bowles and Blankfein.

“They worship the god of re-election.”

For his part, Blankfein said President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney should keep an eye on the cliff while campaigning.

“I think the (presidential) candidates know how serious it is,” Blankfein told CNBC.

“I think they’re trying to avoid it in part because it is so consequential and serious and the ideas that would be put forward are unattractive to some people.”

Economists see the fiscal cliff siphoning anywhere from $500 billion to $720 billion out of the economy next year, trimming 4.6 percent off gross domestic product.

On the flip side, markets would applaud a deal among lawmakers to prevent a string of tax breaks from expiring at the same time cuts to government spending kick in.

“I’d be a buyer of this market. Goldman Sachs would,” Blankfein told the network.

“We’re not only advisers to companies, we’re a company ourselves. We would assume that our business would grow.”

Not only is the U.S. economy at stake, but the global economy could see fallout from the fiscal cliff as well, and officials at multilateral financial institutions are calling for compromise fast.

“We would like to see the United States lower the level of uncertainty by embracing more specifically the need to avoid the fiscal cliff and deal with the medium-term problems,” said David Lipton, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund and former Obama adviser, according to Reuters.

“Both sides of the political isle (should) signal that they are willing to compromise and that they’re willing to get this done ... that could help lower the level of uncertainty that is affecting U.S. investors and consumers.”

Editor's Note: See the Disturbing Charts: 50% Unemployment, 90% Stock Market Crash, 100% Inflation

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The United States is facing a one-two punch of tax hikes and spending cuts that could knock the economy into a recession next year and the government is doing nothing to prepare for it, said Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Washington deficit advisors Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson.
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Thursday, 11 Oct 2012 01:45 PM
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