NEW YORK (TheStreet --Debra Borchardt: Jim, we have been talking about the fiscal cliff for a couple of weeks now. Jim: Right. Debra Borchardt: And we've got probably a few more weeks to talk about it, but now we're starting to hear people saying, "You know what? It's been overhyped. It's not that big of a deal." And I guess now it's a point for us to step back and say, "You know, are we overhyping this, or is this a real concern? We really do need to let people know." Jim: Right. Well our own Doug Kass was interviewed in an amazing article this morning in the New York Times ( NYT), and Doug feel adamant that we're maybe overblowing it, here's my issue. Debra Borchardt: And Barry Ritholtz. Jim: Yes. Debra Borchardt: The Big Picture, he thinks it's getting overblown. Jim: I think it's really not overblown, and I'll tell you why. By the way, the market says we'll have a deal. I mean, I want to distinguish two things. One, is will there be a deal ultimately, okay, versus no deal? Ultimately if there's a deal then we'll be fine. Debra Borchardt: Like the game show Deal or No Deal. Jim: Yeah, or no deal. Yeah. And it is a Howie Mandel. Ultimately we'll do fine. But if we don't the spending cuts are pretty harsh. The job loss is very meaningful, and for our point of view, as people who talk about stocks, it's very different from what Doug talks about. When companies start reporting, if we have not solved the fiscal cliff, why not take things down? I mean put yourself in the head of the CEOs who talk. The vast majority of CEOs are Republican or Democratic. They want the fiscal cliff resolved. If it's not resolved, it's really difficult to say that the numbers will hold up as well as if they are, and it's also easier to lay off people. I mean because if you believe, as is the congressional budget office, that a recession is probably likely, why would maintain the same level of employment that you have when we're not having a recession? You're going to have to radically refigure. So yes, if we get a deal, ultimately December/January, it will be good. Although AMT very hard to roll back. But if we don't get a deal, I think it's kind of silly to say that there won't be any economic impact of any sort. It's too big.
Debra Borchardt: And I think it's fair to say that if maybe you didn't have this kind of pressure on the government where you have people in the press pushing corporate leaders, pushing...they might have thought, you know, "Nobody really cares. So we can push this to another time." Jim: I agree with you Debra. Debra Borchardt: I think with this pressure on them they understand that people want this thing done. Jim: Well I'm a huge fan, although sometimes I feel alone, of Ben Bernanke. And Ben Bernanke says, "Listen, this is terrible for the economy." He knows so much. He knows so much more than the rest of us. He certainly knows more than me. I'm going with his view. Debra Borchardt: Got to do something? Jim: Yeah. Debra Borchardt: Okay. Thanks Jim. --Written by Debra Borchardt in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt. Follow @WallandBroad