Voters sound off on 'fiscal cliff'
In the nation's capital, and across the country, it's a new and negative phrase in our political landscape.
"I want 'fiscal cliff' to go flying off the cliff," says Mary Moran, visiting D.C. from Massachusetts.
The White House warns the lack of a deficit deal by year's end will hit taxpayers hard.
"If Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their income taxes go up," warns President Obama.
The fiscal cliff was designed to be almost like a doomsday scenario, an outcome so bad, that Democrats and Republicans would be forced to come to a compromise.
But it hasn't happened.
"It's not fair to the American people," says House Speaker John Boehner. "Going over the cliff will hurt our economy and will hurt job creation in our country."
If a compromise isn't reached by year's end, the average household would see a tax increase of about $2,000, the White House says.
An estimated $650 billion in cuts to Pentagon and domestic programs would kick in.
"The people I feel so bad for are the middle class, because they are going to get squeezed," says Anne Felix, from Massachusetts.
The latest White House offer includes $1.6 trillion in tax increases over the next ten years.
Also included are $50 billion in additional stimulus spending, and $400 billion in unspecified Medicaid cuts.
Put simply, the president wants higher tax rates on the rich.
House Republicans want entitlement reform, and no tax increases.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is among the Republicans who were sharply critical of the plan on Sunday.
"It raised $1.6 trillion on job creators that will destroy the economy, and there are no spending controls," Graham says.
But the administration argues it's presented a balanced mix of taxes and spending.
"It's roughly two-to-one spending cuts versus tax increases," says Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
"They (the GOP) are not prepared to see tax rates rise modestly for just two percent of the wealthiest Americans," he adds.
The endless debating, and the lack of consensus is turning voters off.
"Big joke, they're going to do what they want to do," says Bill Wallish of Silver Spring. "They can wait for a month and make everything retroactive. It's just a political game they're playing."
Even with the distractions of the holiday season, there is plenty of cynicism about the process.
J.P. Sherry, from Arlington, says "I've become so disenchanted, that I'm kind of ashamed to say I haven't followed it as closely as I should."
Many voters who spoke with ABC7 say with time running out, the country's elected leaders should stop arguing, and get back to work.
"Trying to throw each other under the bus, Democrats and Republicans, is not working," Leesburg resident Victor Ford says. "We've got to somehow get this thing fixed."
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