- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
Deal, or no deal? Answers on what may happen next with ‘fiscal cliff’
Boehner, Obama hustle out of town with their parties still worlds apart
Question of the Day
Efforts to save the nation from going over a year-end “fiscal cliff” were in disarray as lawmakers fled the Capitol for their Christmas break. “God only knows” how a deal can be reached now, House Speaker John A. Boehner declared.
President Obama, on his way out of town himself, insisted a bargain could still be struck before Dec. 31. “Call me a hopeless optimist,” he said.
Here is a look at why it’s so hard for Republicans and Democrats to compromise on urgent matters of taxes and spending, and what will happen if they fail to meet their deadline:
New Year’s headache
Partly by fate, partly by design, some scary fiscal forces come together at the start of 2013 unless Congress and the president act to stop them. They include:
• Some $536 billion in tax increases, touching nearly all Americans, because various federal tax cuts and tax breaks expire at year’s end.
• About $110 billion in spending cuts divided equally between the military and most other federal departments. That’s about 9 percent of the annual budget for the Pentagon, about 8 percent for the others.
Hitting the national economy with that double whammy of tax increases and spending cuts is what is called going over the “fiscal cliff.” If allowed to unfold over 2013, it would lead to recession, a big jump in unemployment and financial market turmoil, economists predict.
What if they miss the deadline?
If New Year's Day arrives without a deal, the nation shouldn’t plunge onto the shoals of recession immediately. There still might be time to engineer a soft landing.
As long as lawmakers and the president appear to be working toward agreement, the tax hikes and spending cuts could be held at bay for a few weeks. Then they could be repealed retroactively once a deal is reached.
The big wild card is the stock market and the nation’s financial confidence: Would traders start to panic if Washington appeared unable to reach accord? Would worried consumers and businesses sharply reduce their spending? In what could be a preview, stock prices around the world dropped Friday after House Republican leaders’ plan for addressing the fiscal cliff collapsed.
What if they never agree?
If negotiations between Mr. Obama and Congress collapse completely, 2013 looks like a rocky year.
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- EDITORIAL: Our ideological president
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- MILLER: Obamacare enrollees include 101 members of the House of Representatives
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Red Alert focuses on the hottest political topics in the nation and calls Americans to action.
History doesn't have to be grim; there is a lot to be learned from the pages of time.
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!