The crucial "fiscal cliff" financial scenario for the United States has come down to the last two days of 2012. No deal is done, but both President Obama and congressional leaders say they are working toward a solution.
If no deal emerges, automatic tax increases would go into effect in 2013 for most Americans, which would reduce their spendable income. Also, widespread spending cuts would go into effect, which would affect many federal programs.
CNN.com reported that Obama is scheduled to appear on NBC's "Meet The Press" on Sunday (10 a.m., EST). He is widely expected to call for an immediate vote by Congress on a scaled-back plan that would only extend middle class tax breaks and unemployment benefits, if the congressional negotiations fail. It is the president's first appearance on a political talk show in three years.
"We're now at a point where, in just a couple of days, the law says that every American's tax rates are going up. Every American's paycheck will get a lot smaller, and that would be the wrong thing for our economy," the president said in his weekly radio address Saturday.
The Washington Post reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have set a deadline of about 3 p.m. on Sunday for cinching a deal. That’s when they’re planning to convene caucus meetings of their respective members.
If all goes according to plan, the leaders would roll out the legislation Sunday night and hold a vote by at least midday Monday. That would give the House the rest of New Year’s Eve to consider the measure.
There are many potential economic setbacks in the fiscal cliff scenario. The Huffington Post notes that federal unemployment benefits would expire on January 1, and that some tax credits would expire for programs that help lower- and middle-income families with kids.
-- Do you think a "fiscal cliff" deal will be reached before 2013 begins? What do you think about America's economic future? Share your opinions in the comments below.