It might be a good time tonight to tune in to PBS to listen to whether we’re heading over the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
KACV-TV will broadcast two programs back to back, beginning at 6 p.m. The PBS NewsHour runs in the first hour. This is just a hunch, but I’ll bet the reporters and their sources will talk — a lot — about the fiscal cliff. Then will come Washington Week in Review, beginning at 7 p.m. It runs only 30 minutes, but it, too, could fill an hour easily with analysis of what the fiscal cliff means to everyone.
Here’s what is at stake: If the White House and Congress don’t reach a budget deficit-reduction deal by midnight Monday, some serious automatic measures kick in. Everyone’s taxes will increase; 10 percent automatic spending cuts are activated across the board, meaning that defense spending gets cut at the same level of social service programs. Everyone takes the hit.
And what are the consequences of all this? Economists everywhere predict a recession. Joblessness will rise to something in the neighborhood of 9 percent.
And none of this even accounts for what could happen to investment markets. Wall Street figures to take a serious dive, costing many millions of Americans a lot of money in, say, retirement income.
This is the kind of outcome that President Obama and congressional leaders say they’re trying to avoid.
Hey, it figures to be a frigid night. Stay inside, keep warm, turn on your television, tune in to KACV … and feel the chill as PBS reporters tell us about what might happen early next week.
Then again, maybe they’ll have good news to report.