President Obama and House Speaker Boehner recently sat down together for the first time in more than three weeks and have a private one-on-one discussion on how best to avoid the so called ‘fiscal cliff,’ a combination of tax increases and spending cuts that are presently scheduled to take effect in January and would, according to multiple economists, have a very detrimental effect on an already fragile economy. International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde predicted a sharp drop in investor and consumer confidence and “zero” U.S. economic growth if no agreement is reached.
The meeting came as a surprise to some considering it was not on the President’s official schedule and their debates had thus far been public. The results of this meeting, however, have been kept confidential. After their private discussion, spokesmen for both the President and the Speaker issued an identical statement saying, “This afternoon, the president and Speaker Boehner met at the White House to discuss efforts to resolve the fiscal cliff. We’re not reading out details of the conversation, but the lines of communication remain open.”
Erskine Bowles, former Chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, finds this statement to be encouraging. “Any time you have two guys in there tangoing, you have a chance to get it done,” Bowles said.