In its most dire warning yet about the fiscal cliff yet, the CBO said the economy would contract by 0.5 percent in calendar year 2013 if the Bush-era tax rates expire and automatic spending cuts are implemented. Unemployment also would rise from 8.2 percent in 2012 to 9.1 percent next year, it estimates.

So, the prospects are for a new recession in early 2013. This, as many Americans remain unaware that we ever recovered from the last one. The ever cheerful CBO also projects “a deficit of $1.1 trillion this year, the fourth year of budget shortfalls over $1 trillion. This is a slight decrease from the $1.2 trillion that CBO projected in March.”

So debt held by the public will now stand at just under 75 percent of the economy, “the highest level since 1950 and about twice the 36 percent of GDP that it measured at the end of 2007.”