Editorial: "Fiscal Cliff Costs"

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The volume on the "fiscal cliff" conversation has been steadily growing as our country marches closer and closer to the tax hikes and automatic spending cuts mandated in the self imposed Budget Control Act of 2011. Among the laws set to change at midnight on December 31st is the end of last year's temporary payroll tax cuts, the end of certain tax breaks for businesses, shifts in the alternative minimum tax and the beginning of taxes related to President Obama's health care law.

You will have less money in your pocket starting in January if our economy rolls over the "cliff."  Case in point, the 2011 median HH income in Alabama was $41,415.  Using analysis by the Tax Policy Center the combined tax bill for federal income and Social Security taxes would go from $3,672 "pre-cliff" to $5,135 "post-cliff."  This is an extra $1,462 or $121 dollars a month out of Alabamians paychecks.  Got your attention?

"Over the cliff" costs will not only be monetary, they will be perceptual for our entire Country.  The world is again standing witness to our leaders in Washington bickering and posturing in a partisan standoff each side apparently willing to defend their position to the bitter end as our economy is on pause.  This is not leading by example in any stretch of the imagination.

This is a historical moment for our leaders that will not only determine the near-future of taxes and entitlements like Medicare and social security, but an opportunity to finally set a course towards reducing, in significant way, our country's $16+ trillion national debt.  It's time to "right the ship."

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