Playing Chicken With the American Economy
December 13, 2021

Some of you (likely the more seasoned readers or maybe the classic movie buffs out there) may remember the 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause. The movie features a famous scene in which star James Dean’s character races another driver toward the cliff of an abyss. The first to jump out of his car to avoid going over the edge would be deemed a “chicken.” Sound familiar?

It probably should, as it is essentially what’s happening in Washington right now among politicians in their attempts to resolve the problem of the fiscal cliff. As we quickly approach the edge, politicians on both sides continue to reposition their stances and it’s clear that sizeable differences still remain. In essence, we’ve witnessed how the polarization of our political system has created a game of “chicken” with our economy.

What we’re faced with seems to be two sides speeding in separate cars towards the edge of the cliff, with the possibility of both driving off of it together. Instead of trying to outlast one another, the opposing sides need to realize that they aren’t driving different cars, but are rather sitting side by side in the same one. Despite all of the damaging economic ramifications of going over the fiscal cliff – a significant fiscal drag, markets diving, falling back into a recession, a global economic slowdown – there is an opportunity here for us as a nation.

As an accounting and business advisory firm, we’ve heard more than most about our clients’ fears. If a deal isn’t made in a timely manner, businesses will ultimately face the consequences. This is a chance for our political leaders to come together and show the country that compromise is still possible. Regardless of your politics, when it comes to driving towards the fiscal cliff, we’re all in that same black 1949 Mercury Club Coupe. No one will benefit from us kicking the can down the road and driving off the cliff.

Thanks for stopping by.

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