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Economics

How to End the Great Fiscal Wars

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- In one way, the so-called fiscal cliff threatening the U.S. economy is less dangerous than widely supposed. In another, it’s more.

First, as many have said, the cliff is really a slope. At year’s end, the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 automatically expire, and a deliberately brainless process of sequestration starts to cut public spending. But the full fiscal effects of both events don’t arrive all at once. The changes would have to be sustained -- or be expected to be sustained -- to drive the economy into a recession.