New Deal Numerology: The Long Way Down

Nov 29, 2012Tim Price

This week's numbers: 16 million; 10; $2,200; $1.25 trillion; 53%

16 million... is a memetic number. That’s how many hits Google produces for “fiscal cliff,” making it far more common than more accurate terms like the fiscal slope or the austerity bomb. In the spirit of Grand Bargains, can we agree on “the fisterity cliffsplosion”?

10... is a delayed number. That’s how many years it would take for all of the scheduled cuts to be fully phased in. So feel free to relax and enjoy New Year’s Eve without having to worry that the ball dropping in Times Square is a visual metaphor for the economy.

$2,200... is an uncut number. That’s how much extra the average family will pay in taxes if all the Bush tax cuts expire. The president’s team has made note of this with its #My2K hashtag, a fun callback to the days when Americans obsessed about fake problems with computer clocks rather than the debt clock.

$1.25 trillion... is a delimited number. That’s how much Congress may have to raise the debt limit to prevent yet another standoff in February. Democrats insist this should all be part of the same deal, but Republicans prefer to take time to savor each of their manufactured crises individually.

53%... is a disagreeable number. That’s how many people say the blame will fall on House Republicans if a deal isn’t reached. The question isn’t why President Obama keeps saying he hopes they’ll agree to compromise, but why he’s not being sarcastic about it.

Tim Price is Deputy Editor of Next New Deal. Follow him on Twitter @txprice.

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