Final Essay

Department of Economics University of California Berkeley

Fall 2012 Economics 1 Professor Olney

The Comprehensive Essay Question
This is exactly the question you will be given on December 11 as your comprehensive essay question. Options: [1] You can write your essay during the final on Dec. 11. Or [2] You can turn the essay in by Dec. 7. If you choose to write your essay during the December 11 exam, we’ll provide you with lined paper. If you choose the Dec. 7 (early) option: Essay must be submitted via bspace “assignments” tab. Due date is Friday December 7, 5:00 p.m. No late electronic submissions. 10-11-12 pt font; double spaced; 1,000 words maximum; your name & SID & GSI’s name on first page. Use “quote marks” and cite your sources. Works cited page not included in 1,000 word maximum. Congratulations! You’re an intern in your U.S. Senator’s office in Washington DC. Fabulous job!! You’ve been asked to write a briefing paper for the Senator outlining the economic issues inherent in the negotiations over the “Fiscal Cliff” (or as some term it, the “Austerity Bomb”). Her memo to you follows. You want to impress your new boss with how much you learned in your econ class at Cal. You also want to make a positive contribution, so you want to be clear and organized. The Senator truly wants your recommendation, which should be well supported by the arguments you put forth in the briefing paper. You’ve got at least a week before she wants your paper, so that’s plenty of time to do a bit of research if you need to learn more about the issues. On January 1, a set of federal tax increases and spending cuts totaling about $600 billion are scheduled to go into effect. Congress can take action before or after January 1. I must decide what action I will support. The options seem to be [1] do nothing and let the tax increases and spending cuts take effect on January 1; [2] do something small, letting most but not all of the changes take effect; or [3] do something big,...