9 in 10 Americans predict 'major economic problems' if 'fiscal cliff' not averted
Nine in 10 Americans expect economic problems if Washington doesn't avert 'fiscal cliff', a new poll has found.
According to the CBS News Poll, for months, lawmakers in Washington have warned of the dire consequences of going over the so-called 'fiscal cliff', and the public has been listening.
The 'fiscal cliff' refers to a series of tax hikes and spending cuts set to go into effect next year.
Current income tax rates, first enacted during the Bush administration, are set to expire, meaning all Americans could see an income tax hike if Congress doesn't act.
The two percent payroll tax cut that President Barack Obama instituted is also set to expire, the report said.
On the spending side, 1.2 trillion dollars in cuts to both defense and non-defense programs are set to kick in on January 2 unless Washington acts.
According to the report, going over the 'fiscal cliff' would result in significant deficit reduction, but economists agree that going over the 'cliff' would likely send the nation into another recession.
The 'cliff', meanwhile, would be more accurately described as a 'slope', since it would not all go into effect at once.
Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are engaged in serious negotiations over an economic package of spending cuts and revenue increases with which to replace the "fiscal cliff."
According to the poll, just half of Americans think Congress and the White House will reach a deal, though Democrats are more optimistic than Republicans.
The poll found that Americans want to see both sides compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff, 78 percent saying that Obama and Democrats should compromise, while 81 percent saying that Republicans should.
As negotiations over the fiscal cliff continue, three in 10 Americans are following news about those talks very closely, and another four in 10 are following it somewhat closely.