Some see "crisis," others see "major problems; others think Congress will behave like "spoiled children"
Who’s afraid of the fiscal cliff?
Two-thirds of Americans believe that should Congress and the White House fail to reach an agreement on the so-called fiscal cliff and avert the tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to kick in at year’s end it would bode ill for the country. Twenty-four percent believe the country would face a “crisis” and 44 percent believe the country would face “major problems,” according to a survey of just over 1,000 adults conducted by CNN/ORC International.
Seventy percent call for both parties to reach a compromise, but coming off a long and bitterly-fought election, the majority seem to be cynical about the political process. When asked if “elected officials in Washington will behave mostly like responsible adults or mostly like spoiled children,” more than two-thirds (67 percent) said the latter.
Should America go “over the cliff,” the average American family could face a $3,500 tax hit, while major spending cuts would impact government spending programs, including military programs.
At issue in the negotiations is a disagreement between the two major political parties over how to best raise the federal government's revenues. The president and most congressional Democrats argue for tax rate increases on the wealthiest Americans in order to raise revenue, while most congressional Republicans maintain strict resistance to tax hikes and instead call for the closing of loopholes and reform in the tax code. Both parties seem to be closer aligned on the prospect of possible spending cuts.
.Two thirds of respondents in the CNN poll call for a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, but there seems to be a shift in their thinking. Fifty-six percent of respondents agree with the White House assertion that taxes should be raised on the wealthiest Americans. But this is down from 62 percent who responded similarly during the debt ceiling debate in August 2011. Conversely, 36 percent said that taxes on the wealthy should be kept low because they are job creators and invest in the private sector. This is up two percent from last year.
Affluent investors surveyed by Millionaire Corner display similar pessimism that the fiscal cliff will be averted, Nearly two-thirds (62.5 percent) do not believe a solution will be reached before the deadline. This is up from 53 percent who responded similarly when asked in September.
This is an issue of increasing concern, Affluent investors told us. Half said they are looking for more information about it.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.