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The Fiscal Cliff

The Bush tax cuts are a set of temporary tax relief measures enacted by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003. The tax cuts included lowering federal income tax rates for everyone, lowering capital gains taxes, eliminating the phaseout on personal exemptions for higher-income taxpayers and eliminating the estate tax, among a few other cuts.

Faced with an ailing economy, President Barack Obama extended those tax cuts for temporary economic relief. The expiration date for those tax cuts is a looming 26 days away (December 31, 2012). If Congress fails to act, it means higher taxes for you and I in 2013 and an increase in unemployment. On average, most families will pay $1,600 more in taxes. 

Washington has yet to find a solution. Democrats demand tax increases for those making over $250,000 a year. Republicans say the disaster can be avoided by closing tax loopholes.

If Congress does not come to an agreement by Dec. 31, we reach the fiscal cliff. On Jan. 1, for example, defense spending and other government spending would be reduced as part of a sequestration- or a withdrawal in spending.
Less spending leads to less demand for product and fewer employees needed.
David Hess, President of defense contractor Pratt & Whitney, said, "Were sequestrian to go into effect, the unemployment rate could rise to 9.1 percent."
While the tax increases and spending cuts would reduce the size of the national deficit, most economists believe the sudden changes would plunge the country into another recession, considering that the country has been so dependent on fiscal stimulus over the past years.
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