This term "Fiscal Cliff" efers to the expiration of tax breaks and the introduction of tax increases and spending cuts that will take place if Congress fails to take action to prevent it by the end of this year. If this happens it could push the U.S. economy back into recession.
If Congress take no action by Jan. 1, 2013 the U.S. will be hit by a fiscal contraction worth $600 billion, which could force an economic decline as both individuals and businesses are forced to pay higher taxes. The FISCAL CLIFF is the result of the expiration of a series of Bush-era tax cuts, as well as the entry into force of automatic cuts to defense and domestic spending programs. In addition, at roughly the same time, U.S. lawmakers will have to raise the borrowing limit, or risk default on the national debt. These cuts and tax increases were meant to be a pill too bitter to swallow and, therefore Congress would be forced to act promptly to make the fiscal changes needed well before their expiration. This situation, if it goes unchanged, would be quite a New Years Day hang-over for the entire country.
As always, it is business as usual back at the White House and House of Representatives. All efforts to avoid this catastrophic event are inching forward at a snail’s pace. Leaders of both teams are careful not to make decisions that would help avoid the crisis but, instead, are sifting through options to make each other look bad; talk about Nero fiddling while Rome burned…
Nearly all American households will be affected by the FISCAL CLIFF but low-income families would be hit the hardest. Many of these new low-income
households are our neighbors who are still reeling from the loss of income and
home value from the last recession.
These tax increases and spending cuts are scheduled to take effect starting Jan. 2, 2013. If our representatives in Washington cannot craft an immediate solution 121 million American households will be hit by payroll tax increases of 5 percent or more in the New Year. So aside from raises being very sparse in the work place you will be able to count on a five percent decrease in your take home
pay as you start 2013…I bet you can’t wait for the New Year!
Further, businesses would be faced with tax increases that would certainly limit their growth options as well as decrease profits unless, of course, they raise the price that you pay for their goods and services.
So, let’s review, unless our friends in the White House and House of
Representatives act immediately to avert the FISCAL CLIFF, we are headed for
tax increases, price increases and spending cuts that will almost certainly
push the economy back into a full scale recession in early 2013. Hopefully, our government will act in a responsible manner to avert the FISCAL CLIFF immediately.
- Patrick Ingegno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or