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What is the ‘Fiscal Cliff?’

Federal Chairman
Getty Images, photo by Alex Wong

As we approach the end of the year we still have the ”Fiscal Cliff’ to worry about but, what is the ‘Fiscal Cliff?’ I’m not an expert but here’s the way I understand it. It’s a phrase coined by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.  Many fiscal events could happen simultaneously at the end of the year sending us over a ‘Fiscal Cliff.’ Some of the events have to do with taxes…the Bush era tax cuts will expire, payroll tax cuts will expire and important tax relief provisions will expire, making our taxes go up.

On top of the taxes, a deficit reduction agreement on $1.2 trillion in cuts on domestic and defense programs are due. Along with this, the debt ceiling will have to be raised again.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, we could save $600 billion if we fall off the fiscal cliff, but it’s the damage it will do to the economy and the start of a new recession that’s the biggest worry.

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