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Of cliffs and cans and taxes

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Brace for a big dose of tax nostalgia. When we fly off the fiscal cliff Tuesday (unless the optimists prove correct, and the obstinate suddenly become dealmakers), we may have to rethink our metaphors. Are we really plunging into the economic abyss, or just stepping into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine? As they say in Washington, nothing up my sleeve. All the bickering in the Capitol this weekend is about how to avoid the automatic calamity of going back to the way taxes used to be, long ago in the Bush II administration. The political terror will occur when Americans are suddenly and starkly reminded how much money the government has not been taking from them. It’s a lot. A “big deal” is how one Washington think tank put it, being prone to technical jargon.

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