NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We are now just a handful of days away from perhaps going over the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
But as much as it’s striking fear in the hearts of Americans, it doesn’t appear to be causing the same worries for Washington lawmakers, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported on Wednesday.
President Barack Obama was to return to Washington on Thursday after cutting short his Christmas vacation in Hawaii. The Senate will be in session. But so far the House of Representatives has no plans to meet.
And the doomsday clock is ticking.
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“Look, I know these people in Washington. Some of them may be watching now. They don’t talk to each other. They don’t have dialogue. They don’t have conversations,” said CBS News political analyst Frank Luntz.
If Congress and the White House don’t act by next Tuesday, nearly all Americans will get a tax increase — an average of $2,400 next year for families with incomes of between $50,000 and $75,000. And there will be spending cuts, about 8 percent for most federal departments. That would mean layoffs for some federal workers.
“They will accept a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans. Over 70 percent now support that tax increase, but an even higher percent support significant spending cuts,” Luntz said.
If a deal isn’t reached, the financial markets could react badly and consumer confidence may suffer.
“If we allow that to happen it will be the most colossal consequential act of Congress irresponsibility in a long time,” Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman said.
Even if a plunge over the fiscal cliff is averted, your paycheck is likely to be smaller starting in the new year. The temporary Social Security payroll tax cut is set to expire, no matter what.
Approximately 2 million unemployed citizens across the country could lose their federal jobless benefits unless a deal is reached.
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