Caroline Baum: Is ‘Fiscal Cliff’ a Keynesian Topography Mistake?

Unless Congress gets serious about structural tax reform — about increasing revenues by closing loopholes and lowering rates — income-tax rates are headed much higher. The Social Security Trustees report this week was another reminder that the clock is ticking on entitlement reform. Last year, benefits paid to retirees exceeded non-interest income for the second consecutive year. The cash-flow deficit will continue through the 75-year forecast period, according to the program’s trustees. The trust fund will be exhausted by 2033, three years earlier than projected a year ago. Talk about a fiscal cliff. Twenty years may be too long a period to inspire our short-term-oriented lawmakers to action. But if you want to worry about a looming rock formation, it should be the one in 2033, not 2013.

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