Are you paying attention to the “fiscal cliff” issue?

The fragile economy could tumble back into recession if Congress and President Obama fail to reach a deal to resolve the “fiscal cliff” before the end of the year, according to some experts. The fiscal cliff is a series of tax hikes and federal spending cuts that will kick in on Jan. 1 unless a deal is reached. Today’s Question: Are you paying attention to the fiscal cliff issue?

  • reggie

    Not paying much attention. Anyone with basic arithmetic skills (which seems to exclude the Republican leadership) can see that it will take tax increases AND spending cuts to get us back to living within our means. The fact that Boehner, McConnell, et. al., can dig in their heels and refuse to cooperate just shows that our fundamental problem hasn’t changed.

    The two presidential candidates ran on very distinct platforms, and Obama won. In my world, that should mean the losing side comes the greater distance to the middle, but in our current political world, the sore losers don’t seem to get it.

  • Dianne

    Yes, I am. Rises in the payroll tax and income tax, and cuts to unemployment compensation would be very difficult on my family.

  • Gary F

    Yes, but not too closely yet. Very, very skeptical on what if anything they do and how it will be “spinned” by the media.

    Bring it on.

    President Obama signed all these bills bringing on this “fiscal cliff”, so it has to be good.

    The Republicans should just vote “present” and let the Democrats solve this mess, that is why America re-elected Obama.

    It’s the Republicans fault no matter what happens. Nothing is ever Obama’s fault.

    Taxes are good? Right?

  • Clark

    You bet I am. Sold most assets that have appreciated over several decades to lock in lower capital gains tax rate. Cashed in any and all restricted stock options to take advantage of lower marginal tax rate as well. Mostly in cash at this point, waiting for outcome.

    Sorry lefties, the wealthy don’t just wait for you to confiscate our income and wealth.

    The democrats math skills have not improved since November. Not enough wealthy to solve the deficit problem, just an attack on merit.

    Personally, would like to see stalemate continue and all tax rates rise. Good payback for all the moochers who voted for democrats in November.

    Perhaps the unemployment rate for those under 30 would rise to 25% just like Europe. Makes sense since Obama and the radical left want to follow the French economic model.

    About time the moochers actually pay for the services they use.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Sure. Anything that helps people realize that economic prosperity is unreliable and that well-being and meaningful success can’t be measured in dollars is a good thing. Once a person has enough, money is just a counter in the economic game, and having more brings no additional happiness.

  • Gary F

    Obama and the Democrats know best when you have had enough money.

  • James

    The media, the President and the Republican Party are doing an awful job on this issue. If I hear another brainless soundbite I’m going to lose my breakfast!

    Here’s my version.

    The nation is doing okay. Lots of people are living decadent lives again. Lots of new cars. Lots of new houses. Restaurants are full. Etc.

    The Federal Government is $16 trillion in debt and adding to it about a $1 trillion per year rate.

    That $ 1 trillion is a stimulus of some sort. One way or the other, it gets into consumers’ hands and creates jobs/wealth/decadence.

    Either we can keep overspending by $1 trillion a year, or we can’t. I for one think we can’t. One day our lenders will just say no.

    Jan. 1 2013 is as good a day as any to stop overspending by $1 trillion/year. Which means we just need to figure out who’s going to make up the $1 trillion/year.

    We all need to do our part. Pay more taxes. Fight fewer unnecessary wars. Spend less on health care (which means seniors will get less care and doctors will get less wealthy.) etc.

    Unofortunately, $1 trillion is a lot of money. It looks like this. $1,000,000,000,000.00 There is not easy fix. It’s going to be painful whether we start attacking it this month or next month or next year. And economic growth will likely slow when we stop stimulating the economy by $1 trillion/year.

    The president is not coughing up a $1 trillion per year solution. Boehner is not coughing up a $1 trillion per year solution. The media is not doing the math for them and is allowing them to stay on sound bite day after day.

    I now firmly believe they will not get it resolved by Dec 31. And I’m glad they won’t, as the automatic cuts, resulting from last year’s legislation, is as good a place to start solving this $1 trillion/year problem as any.

    My taxes will go up. Plenty! And I’m glad of it, as it is the first step towards getting our fiscal house in order.

  • Lou

    Yes – I am paying attention. I believe that an agreement will be reached at the eleventh hour and several house republicans that are in what are regarded as safe republican districts plus retiring republicans will join with house democrats to pass the bill raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. These republicans will be open to primary challenges in 2014 but if they can convince primary voters that they acted in the best interest of the country in avoiding the fiscal cliff, they should be able to survive the challenges.

  • georges

    The negotiations over what to do about the Fiscal Cliff is just one more rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic……..

    We are still going to hit the iceberg……..no one is doing anything to stop that……..but we sure like to argue about who is getting the best seats for the show……….

  • John

    The “Fiscal Cliff” is BS. We as a country are so deep in debt that if you taxed everyone 100% for the next 10 years we still wouldn’t come close to paying off the debt.

    We need to stop fighting all of these wars for Israel and stop aiding one of the most criminal countries in the world, Israel and End the Federal Reserve!

  • Numb

    No, I try to ignore it unless there is some interesting nuance that suggests some new sprout has come to life. Otherwise just give me the halftime and final scores. Paying attention to the politics of it is just too depressing and reminds me that we seem to be at the mercy not of truth, logic, statesmanship and wisdom, but of petty, conniving, mean and vindictive politics.

  • Paul

    Yes.. I am paying attention, and I think the media is way over-hyping this whole thing. We will be going over the fiscal pothole, because the Republicans cannot budge and ‘lose face’. They are kamikazes in new outfits. After all the taxes go back to Clinton era rates, then they can vote for a tax break for the middle class and ‘save face’ again. Reminds me of silly boys fighting over toys in a sandbox. It’s that juvenile, really.

  • Jim G

    I’m paying attention to the coverage of the fiscal cliff. I’m noticing there seems to be a continuing theme from the Republicans; obstructionism has moved into the House and is here to stay. It’s like the election never occurred. It’s apparent that Republican leaders are willing to put the 98 % of us in jeopardy protecting the interests of the top 2 %, the elite group that has gained the most growth in income since the Great Recession.

  • kim

    Yes, I’m paying attention. (There’s something about a train wreck that most people can’t turn away from.)

    Mostly, I’m paying attention, looking for some sign of actual leadership from any of our “leaders”. I don’t care which side of the issue they’re on. I’m just looking for anyone to show a sign that they actually want to engage in problem solving.

    Personally, I’m not in a panic about the deficit. Yes, I think we borrow too much money. I just also think the time to cut back on borrowing is when the economy is good, not when it’s bad. In my personal life, I live pretty much week to week and don’t have a lot of savings. (I wish I did, but, with the economy like it is….) I DO have a credit card. I don’t use it much and I pay off the balance every month. If the engine in my one and only vehicle blows up, you’d better believe the repairs will get put off on the card and paid off as I can. I need that truck to earn my living. The reason you borrow money in the first place is to get you through cash flow problems. It makes no sense at all to not borrow money because you have an emergency and really need it. We need to rethink how we, as a country, use credit, but we don’t need to panic and make things worse than they actually have to be.

    So, I’m paying attention alright, hoping to see some sign that somebody in Washington has some common sense. If they do, they’ve kept a pretty low profile so far.

  • david

    Nope. I have enough things to worry about that are somewhat in my control. Our elected corporate shills may decide to run the ship into the rocks again if it suits their interest, damn the rest of us. There’s a group of people whose only ambition is to transfer even more of the pie to those who already have the biggest piece. I’ll either lose my job again or I won’t, but there’s no point worrying about it until it happens.

  • Joe in Minneapolis

    I am indeed following the fiscal cliff debate as a Democrat looking for a fair compromise in which some substantial spending cuts are made in exchange for substantial revenue increases – whatever it takes to ensure government’s size is stabilized in a manner that results in maximum economic prosperity in the broader Us economy. As such, I am eager to see & support whatever US spending cuts the Obama administration is willing to offer to reach a compromise with his revenue hesistant Republican counterparts. I only hope that the politicians themselves are paying attention to the enormity of this fiscal cliff issue nearly so much as I am.

  • georges

    “I just also think the time to cut back on borrowing is when the economy is good, not when it’s bad.”

    Ahhhh, Kim………that is a nice idea, but goes totally against human nature, as well as being exactly the opposite of what Government and Political Parties do.

    When the economy is good, that’s the time to really put the pedal to the metal…..Make hay while the sun shines…..Get it while you can…..etc.

    And, Kim, you may need to repair your truck because you need it to make your living, but the same is not true of Government. Government does not need to repair its truck to make its living. Government just buys a new truck. And not to make a living. It buys a new and larger truck so that it can steal your money faster and in more copious quantites so that Government can live it up, live like Cresus, at your expense. That’s the problem.

  • GregX

    Yes – I pay attention. I’d be much happier if the two sided discussion took place entirely behind closed, locked doors and was subject to a media blackout. We giver far too much attention to the

    – ankle biters (Grover Norquist)

    – knee-knickers (special interest groups & lobbyists)

    – hip checkers ( polls, national speeches, nightly news reports)

    Than is necessary. If the first two goups were starved of attention – they might actually go do some useful work. It the last group groups were ignore mored, they might acutally collect and analyse some useful data or stories.

    Congress is a giant national navel. Stop the navel gazing.

  • Really?

    Short answer: Yes, unfortunately.

    Long: This isn’t a negotiation we’re watching, it’s a game of brinksmanship that doesn’t represent real leadership from either side. I wish I could look away from this political “sausage-making” fiasco, but the stakes are too high and I have to. My take: The D’s don’t care if we go over the fiscal cliff, they like higher taxes to fund their irresponsible spending and they can blame the R’s either way, so in their mind it’s a win-win. The R’s should hold the line on the debt ceiling as this is their only real leverage in this “negotiation” and try to get as much concrete spending reduction and tax reform out of this deal as they can so they can avoid having to go through this over and over and over again until the next presidential election cycle. Oh wait, we’re already in the next presidential election cycle. Well, I guess we could just secede if we don’t like the outcome, right?

  • Carrie

    If you want to be informed about other matters going on right now, you have no choice but to pay attention to the “fiscal cliff” battle.

    It’s been talked to death!!! Leave the sausage making behind closed doors. Whatever will be will be.

  • jockamo

    Awwww….isn’t that cute.

    Some still think the Democrats and Republicans are……different. Are opposite sides of some ancient American coin and are hell bent on “winning” over the other party, like some grand drunken flock of buzzed out Charlie Sheen clones, the chicks (and the weed) distributed Free……..

    The Democrats thank you. The Republicans thank you, too. And, most of all, Barack Obama thanks you……..for being so easy to fool……for being so……available………to be the “mark”………for being so full of joy when you are being……..fleeced…….

    HarHarHar

  • Ann

    No, because Congress should be working with companies and unions as Germany did. Germany found solutions to getting people to work. That is what brings in tax money. The fiscal crisis is going to be an ongoing problem as long as so many people are out of work.A lot of unemployed people in their 50’s are not going to be able to catch up financially and even more entitlements will be needed in coming years.

  • Steve the Cynic

    No, Gary F, it’s not about anyone deciding for anyone else what’s enough. It’s about the workings of the free market of ideas. I’m just looking on the bright side. Whenever some anxiety-raising episode like this happens, it highlights the unreliability of material wealth and helps those who are willing to see that many of the things we worry about aren’t really that important after all.

    The Great Depression was good for our national soul. Folks who lived through it turned out to be much less materialistic than previous or subsequent generations. I’m beginning to think America would have been better off spiritually if Bernanke, Bush and Obama hadn’t conspired to keep the crash of ’08 from turning into another Great Depression.

    There’s a fiscal cliff? Bring it on!

  • inuit

    Curious.

    Eleven days after the 2 young criminals caused a poor old man to have to kill them on Thanksgiving Day, and yet we have not had a Today’s Question on this very important Minnesota story. Why is that?

  • Gary F

    Little Falls shootings, Cold Spring shootings, Bob Costas’ comments last night during the football game………

    Sounds like a great question of the day.

  • Mark in Freeborn

    Yes, I am, and it makes me crazy that one of the major sticking points is the question of whether to increase taxes on the richest Americans. Outrageous! The people who can most afford to absorb the shock are being shielded from it??? So when the nation does “fall off the fiscal cliff,” who will be best positioned to absorb the shock? Again, it’s the wealthiest. The irony is positively Orwellian.

  • JOHNB

    I am paying attention because it can create big changes startign the first on how we budget.

    I am concerned for the fact that pushing solutions to the deadline has happened so many times with this congress that it is becoming the norm. I feel that this is causing many people to put attention elsewhere. I do not doubt that a descion will be made but am saddened that chance are t will not be decided until the 31st.

  • linda in Plymouth

    If Obama doesn’t worry about it, doesn’t that say something about his desire to fix the economy and lower the debt he signed, signed another $6 trillion in just 4 years. He IS NOT negotiating but rather is out campainging as usual. He doesn’t practice what he preaches. He has a 20 day vacation over Christmas to lolly gag about the Hawaii islands at a cost of over $268,000 and all to be paid by us, we pick up that bill.

    Lets see what hyper Progressive MNBC says_ leave it to them to avoid asking, ” WHERE the (bleep) is our President to lead in this fiscal cliff?” No where.

    A true leader leads by example and actually shows up to do the hard work_ Obama shows its all a ruse, to only gain more socialist support using the Class Warfare tactics.

    Raising taxes on dividends kills investments and companies lose capital. Raising income taxes on the top 2% covers our debt for 9 days..get real_ only low informed yahoos support Obama’s policies. Pathetic? Yes_

    He had 4 years to address the economy and he wasted it. He had full control his first two years and all he did was add trillions in hidden and future costs through his Affordable health Ins. Act_ stupidly raising our national deficit!!!!

    But why expect more from a grassroots organizer raised in the company of Marshall Davis,racist reverend Wright and other radicals? Doubt that truth? Then go read Obama ‘s own books, see for yourself and then realize how so many were misled by his progressives.

  • Regnar James

    Listen closely….. I swear I hear banjos.

    DTOM

  • Pat

    Lemmings

  • lLeaonard

    Proably 52% of the voters have no clue on the deficit or anything else that affects our country. That same group is incapable of understanding Obama’s plan to use the fiscal cliff to happen, so he can then offer to sgn bills to lower just middle class income earners yet his plan squashes investment. He attacks the wealthy that create jobs for us but he has no problem asking the very wealthy for campaign donations..Hmmm, why don’t the liberal wealthy in Hollywood donate_ half thier income to tax reduction if they think that would help? (The top 2% earners pay over half of all our taxes and that doesn’t include the billions paid in taxes by the traditional energy companies.) Attack the wealthy and watch the whole country suffer but that is the way of the Progressive ideals.

    Anyone who wants to earn $100,000 a year can do so, but you haven to work realllllly hard and reallly long hours to be successful before you can throtle back and enjoy the furits of your efforts. That alone excludes the Occupy Wall Streeters, they can’t fathom the thought of working hard.

  • jockamo

    I hope everyone heard Donna Brazile last Thursday from noon to 1pm on MPR, Westminster Town Hall Forum.

    The future of these United States was on display.

    And, it was not a pretty sight. The abject ignorance and outright mendacity embodied by Donna Brazile signals a spiral to the bottom of the barrel that will be unpleasant for even the most faithful of liberal miscreants.

    No matter how much Kool-aid one has imbibed, at some point one must ask ones self if the permanent destruction of America was worth one more pat on ones own back.

    Har

  • Wally

    Why should I or would I care? Most of the discussions are irrelevant. The cuts the Democans and Repulicrats are proposing won’t even keep up with the increase in debt due to the interest.

    I’ve said it before: We’ve already plunged over the cliff.

  • Linus

    Lets face it, Obama wants the fiscal collapse. He could save it all by extending the Bush tax cuts that were enacted 12 years ago! Obama and Leader Reid wants the recession so they can ask for so called middle class tax cuts in january and gain some party support all at the expense of sending us into a recession. Hate wealthy all you want, but by July when the economy dives and unemployment is at 10% or higher and retirees have lost 30% of their life savings, then who will want the DFL ever to be in charge again/ Time for the Libertarian Party to take some control.

    If the Obama admin was so good, then why has he failed to reverse unemployment and and why did they allow our consulate in Libya to be raided with 4 murders? Why does he have NO energy policy other than to give $ to his funders for dumping $ into failing green energy companies? Why did his FEMA not prepare and help New York residents while he was out campaigning? Why does he spend millions for his vacations while we suffer? Why does he now support abortion and gay marriage when he campaigned against that?

  • AND

    Are YOU paying attention to the “fiscal cliff” issue?

    Whilst ignoring the river delta that precedes?

    or shall we make it a waterfall into the White Hole of time.

    Yule be there, know am will ;)