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Do Now #52: The Fiscal Cliff

| December 10, 2012 | 26 Comments
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cartoon by Khalil Bendib


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDEdspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.


Do Now

Should the wealthiest Americans pay more taxes to help fix our Federal deficit?

Introduction

You may have heard a lot of talk about the fiscal cliff. What exactly does that mean? Well, in 2010, President Obama and Congress agreed that if a new national budget was not agreed upon before the first of January then a special plan will go into effect. Many economists say that this special plan will send the entire country, once again, into a recession because there will be increases in taxes and huge spending cuts…causing unemployment to rise dramatically…hence the plan will send the country down a fiscal cliff.

The cartoon above by political cartoonist Khalil Bendib, expresses the opinion that the fiscal cliff will not affect the wealthiest Americans and thus they are able to parachute down and land safely.

Ok. So, that’s the situation, but let’s examine why the President and Congress cannot agree on a new budget that perhaps will not send the country into a tailspin.

Creating a budget is simple idea, but can be an extremely complex process. The Federal Government must develop a plan that determines what money it should spend annually along with what money it should receive from taxes, making sure that it does not spend way more than it receives… unfortunately, the Federal Government has spent way more than it has received for the past 12 years, but let’s not get into that now. Here is where the argument gets most heated:

Most Democrats feel that our Federal Government does not tax the wealthiest Americans as much as it should to generate more revenue. Most Republicans disagree with this plan as they think that the tax increase to the rich will hurt big business, harm the economy and increase unemployment.

So, what should be done? Should we increase taxes for the rich or not? Again, creating the Federal budget is a very complex process in which this introduction only provides a very basic overview. The video below does a great job of explaining the Federal budget in more detail with excellent animation. Please watch it to learn more and before you respond to this week’s Do Now.

Resources

WSJ Digital Network’s segment The Fiscal Cliff: Everything You Need to Know… – Nov. 7, 2012
Last August, President Obama and Congress put the U.S. economy on course to go over a “fiscal cliff.” With the 2012 presidential election decided, WSJ’s David Wessel tells you everything you need to know about the “cliff” but were afraid to ask.


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with@KQEDedspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to tweet their personal opinions as well as support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like memes or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can…and any contribution is most welcomed.


More Resources

NPR’s All Things Considered segment Answering Your Questions On The Fiscal Cliff – Dec. 7, 2012
We asked listeners what they wanted to know about efforts to head off the package of tax hikes and spending cuts set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2012. Today, we get answers from Scott Horsley, Tamara Keith and John Ydstie.

The Simpsons segment The Fiscal Cliff – Dec. 4, 2012
Still reeling from the presidential election results, Mr. Burns takes a few minutes to explain the upcoming fiscal cliff.

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Category: Do Now

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About the Author ()

Matthew Williams is a filmmaker and media educator who has recently transplanted to Oakland from Los Angeles. He believes that you are what you eat and feels everyone should have a multitude of dietary options for self-realization. Matthew is the Educational Technologist at KQED.
  • Brandon Cogburn

    I think we should tax the wealthy Americans more because it wouldn’t hurt that budget that much. If we taxed all of the middle class, it would mean more homelessness

  • Brandon Cogburn

    I think we should tax the wealthy Americans more because it wouldn’t hurt that budget that much. If we taxed all of the middle class, it would mean more homelessness

  • Kiana Macias

    I believe the rich people should be taxed more because in the end it is not going to effect them that much. If they don’t the middle class is just going to be struggling because they don’t have much to begin with.

  • Kiana Macias

    I believe the rich people should be taxed more because in the end it is not going to effect them that much. If they don’t the middle class is just going to be struggling because they don’t have much to begin with.

  • Brandon Burchett

    I think the government should find a way to tax the rich for one year and see how it affects revenue. than take moves next year.

  • Brandon Burchett

    I think the government should find a way to tax the rich for one year and see how it affects revenue. than take moves next year.

  • Carla Dano

    In order to fix the federal deficit, the wealthiest should be taxed and the budget for military defense is way too high. It’s extremely selfish to have tons of money and complain about losing a small amount of their revenue while the people who buy things from their business, the poor people are unable to have a roof over their heads.

  • Carla Dano

    In order to fix the federal deficit, the wealthiest should be taxed and the budget for military defense is way too high. It’s extremely selfish to have tons of money and complain about losing a small amount of their revenue while the people who buy things from their business, the poor people are unable to have a roof over their heads.

  • Brennan Sullivan

    I think that the rich should be taxed more because the middle class will already be hugely affected financial, and will be affected much more than those who are more wealthy.

    • Brennan Sullivan

      brennan, black dynamite’s not here. stop showing off…

  • Brennan Sullivan

    I think that the rich should be taxed more because the middle class will already be hugely affected financial, and will be affected much more than those who are more wealthy.

    • Brennan Sullivan

      brennan, black dynamite’s not here. stop showing off…

  • brycen anderson

    I believe that the rich should have to pay higher taxes because the other 99% of us don’t have the kind of money to pay for there problems.

  • brycen anderson

    I believe that the rich should have to pay higher taxes because the other 99% of us don’t have the kind of money to pay for there problems.

  • Ryan H

    I think the wealthiest Americans should pay more taxes to help fix out Federal deficit. They can afford it and it will help the other middle class and lower class 99% of the people.

  • Ryan H

    I think the wealthiest Americans should pay more taxes to help fix out Federal deficit. They can afford it and it will help the other middle class and lower class 99% of the people.

  • matthew conrad

    Yes I think we should tax the rich for the fiscal cliff to not happen!

  • matthew conrad

    Yes I think we should tax the rich for the fiscal cliff to not happen!

  • Shealtiel Mulder

    I think that the rich shouldn’t be taxed more. The big business’ that they control might be affected and forced to lay of workers. If workers are laid off then the government would have to pay unemployment and get further in debt. Also if the government starts to rely on the rich they won’t stop, and that creates an issue. Since the rich don’t stay rich forever.

  • Shealtiel Mulder

    I think that the rich shouldn’t be taxed more. The big business’ that they control might be affected and forced to lay of workers. If workers are laid off then the government would have to pay unemployment and get further in debt. Also if the government starts to rely on the rich they won’t stop, and that creates an issue. Since the rich don’t stay rich forever.

  • Alfred C

    I think that we should cut on tax deficit by taxing the wealthiest Americans. This will help the economy.

  • Alfred C

    I think that we should cut on tax deficit by taxing the wealthiest Americans. This will help the economy.

  • Cameron Eng

    I think that politicians should find a simple solution to the fiscal cliff. I think the richest % of America that can afford to give up a little more money should.

  • Cameron Eng

    I think that politicians should find a simple solution to the fiscal cliff. I think the richest % of America that can afford to give up a little more money should.

  • Brandon Koehne

    I think the rich should be taxed more because its the fastest and eaisest way to get rid of this problem. Also the middle class cant pay more because they can barley survive with the taxes they have now.

  • Brandon Koehne

    I think the rich should be taxed more because its the fastest and eaisest way to get rid of this problem. Also the middle class cant pay more because they can barley survive with the taxes they have now.