Friday, October 26, 2012

Tax Hikes ... Yikes!

     Financial writer Lori Montgomery in the Washington Post noted that almost 90 percent of American taxpayers will see their tax bills rise next year, to the tune of about $2,000 for middle-income households earning between $40,000 and $65,000 a year, if Congress does nothing about the fiscal cliff.

     If you're like me, you've heard of the fiscal cliff, but you don't know exactly what it is. The term is shorthand for a series of federal spending cuts and tax hikes that will automatically go into effect on January 1, 2013, if Congress doesn't act to override them. These automatic measures originated in Congress last year as part of a compromise to pass the Budget Control Act of 2011.

     The tax hikes include ending the temporary 2 percent reduction in the payroll tax (which funds Social Security), ending some tax breaks for business, changing the alternative minimum tax and inaugurating some taxes to start paying for the Affordable Care Act. They will also affect certain tax credits for low-income families, as well as the college tuition tax credit.

     At the same time, budget cuts will go into effect for over 1,000 government programs, including $55 billion in defense cuts and $11 billion in lower Medicare payments. The White House detailed other spending cuts back in September. 

    Only you can figure out how the fiscal cliff will affect your personal situation. But financial experts say it will have a significant effect on the economy as a whole. They estimate the combination of tax hikes and spending cuts will slash half a trillion dollars off the national debt. But they will also cost an estimated 2 million jobs and will most likely throw the country into another recession. (Like we ever got out of the last one.)

     Of course, there's still time for Congress to agree on spending levels and extend the Bush tax cuts, or some of them. Most people trust that Congress will act during its lame duck session, after the Presidential election. I guess we should all hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.


Olga said...

I prepare for the worst by sticking my head further into the sand. Fortunately for us, Mike is much more proactive.

#1Nana said...

Isn't this the same old story? We want to cut the national debt, but we also don't want to pay more taxes or cut existing programs and services. Where is that magic want that lets us have it all?

rosaria williams said...

We have a lame congress and a lame president at this point. We'll have to see how they will all play together when all this is over. They might have time to agree on spending levels and extending some tax cuts. But will they?

Stephen Hayes said...

I guess you've said it already: hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I'm sure that after much posturing, both sides will come up with a solution.

schmidleysscribblins, said...

I have a prediction, no matter who is elected in November, we will all see gridlock here in DC again. Some folks think if Congress (and the President)does nothing everything works out better. They are so cynical. Dianne

Douglas said...

I suspect, even if Congress comes to some kind of agreement/compromise, 2013 is going to be a tough year. Tough for the poor, those on fixed incomes, and the middle class. The rich will survive easily, they always do. It's why they got rich in the first place (or their daddies or granddaddies)... so that they could weather the bad times.

Anonymous said...

Th fiscal cliff will not be a problem at all. It is something the politicians do. But they will resolve it because they all want to get re-elected. That is their will to survive, getting elected again.
D not lose sleep over it.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry.
Romney said he is going to cut taxes for all, the super rich will pay their fair share (isn't that like the wolf in sheep clothing),increase defense spending, guarantees Medicare and social security will be there not just for boomers but for the next generations to come. And he will keep many of the health benefits he likes from Obamas plan. Wonderful! We're all set. Nothing to worry about.
Now, that being said, anyone looking to buy a bridge?