Both Parties Divided Over GOP ‘Cliff’ Idea
Wall Street Journal
(12/09/12) John D. McKinnon
As part of a proposal to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” Republican leaders want to change annual cost-of-living increases for numerous programs, pegging benefits to the chain-weighted consumer price index in an effort to shrink spending and boost tax collections. Democrats worry that such a move would hurt lower-income households and put a damper on safety-net programs, and even some Republicans are wary of it. By using a different inflation measure, annual increases in Social Security checks, federal pensions, and veterans’ benefits would slow, as would increases in the size of the standard deduction and income thresholds for various tax brackets. The Tax Policy Center indicates that the move would boost taxes by around $100 annually on nearly all households earning over $30,000 by 2021.
On Edge Over Jobs Outlook
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth public policy professor Michael Goodman says the uncertainty related to the “fiscal cliff” could prompt companies to delay hiring more employees. Bill Driscoll, New England district president of Robert Half International, says the firm is currently devoting “more and more time” to sourcing temporary and full-time candidates to fill open job positions for clients in the region. Driscoll says if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff, “hiring will go the wrong way and in a hurry. If things don’t get resolved in Washington, I think we’re going to have a major problem,” he says.
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