After kicking the can down the road to avoid making hard choices in the face of an election, lawmakers now have just a few weeks to face financial reality for the American people. Experts may debate whether it’s a “fiscal cliff” or a gentle slope, but everyone seems to agree that dealing with the deficit and expiration of Bush-era tax cuts is a must.
According to multiple news sources, President Barack Obama has embarked on a tour starting in Pennsylvania to make a public case for his administration's plan for addressing the impending "fiscal cliff."
- The end of last year’s payroll tax cuts (which means a 2 percent tax increase for workers);
- The end of the 2001-2003 tax cuts;
- The beginning of heath care-related taxes set in motion by the president’s Affordable Care Act.
(See Wall Street Journal video explainer.)
At the same time, spending cuts agreed on in last year's debt ceiling agreement will go into effect, meaning steep cuts to things like the defense budget and Medicare.
According to the Associated Press, both sides warn that going over the cliff could harm the fragile economic recovery, but the White House and congressional Republicans still differ on whether the answer is to raise taxes or close tax loopholes and deductions.
Up until now, each Party has blamed the other for the footdragging, but all indications are that the American people are tired of the deadlock in Washington. They're ready to see some compromise.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) told Patch it was time to end the “10-year tax holiday.”
She identified the Department of Defense as an area that should cut back spending.
"There's lots of waste in there. A lot of people have this fear of looking unpatriotic by taking a closer look at it. I'm not afraid of it,” said Speier, who has been a long-time champion of Veterans’ rights. “I'm very patriotic, but I want a lean DoD [Dept of Defense]. [The DoD budget] is larger right now than it has ever been in history."
What would you be prepared to see your congressmember concede in order to resolve the issue? Or do you think they should hold the Party line no matter what? What would you like to see happen to prevent going over the so-called "fiscal cliff?