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The Fiscal Cliff46:18
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Four more years.  Obama-Biden and a divided Congress.  We’ll look at challenge number one – the fiscal cliff, and what it will say about the road ahead.

A statue of former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin outside the Treasury Building in Washington. (AP)
A statue of former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin outside the Treasury Building in Washington. (AP)

Big as it was, the election was only about five minutes behind us when the first agenda item of the new day popped up hard.  The “fiscal cliff”.  It sounds scary and, when you look, it is.  January 1st.  Real tax hikes and blind, broad axe spending cuts all over, unless something is done.

A cliff so steep it could bring back hard recession.  So steep the ratings agencies are already warning again about America’s credit rating.  The thing is, we’ve just put all the players who built the cliff back in power.  Now what?

This hour, On Point:  confronting the fiscal cliff.
-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Naftali Bendavid, congressional reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Noam Scheiber, senior editor at The New Republic

Donald Marron, director of the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute.

From Tom's Reading List

Los Angeles Times "At the top of the agenda is the "fiscal cliff," the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes looming at year's end. If Obama cannot successfully resolve the crisis with a House still controlled by Republicans, economists have warned that the "cliff" could slow growth and push the U.S. back into recession."

New York Times "President Obama tried to reach out to the Republican leaders in Congress by phone after his post-midnight victory speech on Wednesday, an aide said, but they were asleep. More failures to communicate likely lie ahead as the parties now turn to seeking a budget deal that would keep the nation from hurtling over a so-called fiscal cliff at year’s end."

Video

Check out these videos explaining the fiscal cliff.

This program aired on November 8, 2012.

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