The Washington Post continues to ignore standard journalistic practices in its effort to push its agenda for cutting Social Security and Medicare. In an effort to maintain pressure on President Obama to reach a budget deal before the end of the year, when his bargaining power will be strengthened by the end of the Bush tax cuts, the paper inaccurately asserted:

"Economists have warned that going over the fiscal cliff — the set of sizable tax increases and spending cuts mandated to take place early next year — would throw the nation back into a recession."

This is not true. The report that provides the basis for the linked article shows the impact on the economy of leaving the higher Clinton era tax rates in place all year, along with the budget cuts provided for in the 2011 budget agreement.

The report absolutely does not say that if the January 1 deadline is missed that the economy would go into a recession. This is an invention of the Washington Post and others who have an agenda to push.

The economic impact of having a higher tax withholding schedule in place for a week or two in 2013 would be minimal. There is no reason that spending need be changed at all if it seems that a deal between President Obama and Congress is imminent. In other words, there is no reason for people to be concerned about missing the January 1 deadline. It is unfortunate that the Post would misrepresent economic research to try to convince readers otherwise.