There's no doubt that going over the cliff would impose serious economic costs. But even worse would be blundering along on our current path without change. Our national debt threatens much larger economic consequences than those posed by the fiscal cliff. Down the road, rising debt could substantially hold back economic growth and send the country into a fiscal crisis that would be far worse than even a double-dip recession.
Among all the myths about the fiscal cliff, there is a certain truth. We will have to make changes to our fiscal course — either on our own terms or when the markets force us to. We should choose the first path.
Maya MacGuineas is the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.