Policy Studies Governance

The ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of the Fiscal Cliff

With the end of the year fast approaching, the conversation about how Congress should address the “fiscal cliff” is heating up. If Washington fails to act, the New Year will bring with it dramatically higher taxes that could threaten a weak economic recovery.

In order to reduce the potential negative impact on the economy, Congress is in negotiations on a slate of tax and spending reforms that most observers consider a “must-pass” piece of legislation before the end of the year. The must-pass nature of the package has attracted dozens of special interests seeking to attach their favorite language to the proverbial last-train-out-of-town. Attaching it to the fiscal cliff bill would ensure that virtually any provision would be shielded from debate on its merits, overshadowed by trillions of dollars in changes to taxes, spending, and future deficits.

Here are five “dos” and five “don’ts” for Congress, starting with the policies they should resist including in any package.

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