The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

December 28, 2012

Fiscal cliff: the options for what could happen

(Continued)

The temporary Social Security payroll tax cut also is due to expire. That tax break for most Americans seems likely to end even if a fiscal cliff deal is reached, now that Obama has backed down from his call to prolong it as an economic stimulus.

___

THE SPENDING

If the nation goes over the fiscal cliff, budget cuts of 8 percent or 9 percent would hit most of the federal government, touching all sorts of things from agriculture to law enforcement and the military to weather forecasting. A few areas, such as Social Security benefits, Veterans Affairs and some programs for the poor, are exempt.

___

THERE'S MORE AT STAKE

All sorts of stuff could get wrapped up in the fiscal cliff deal-making. A sampling:

— Some 2 million jobless Americans may lose their federal unemployment aid. Obama wants to continue the benefits extension as part of the deal; Republicans say it's too costly.

— Social Security recipients might see their checks grow more slowly. As part of a possible deal, Obama and Republican leaders want to change the way cost-of-living adjustments are calculated, which would mean smaller checks over the years for retirees who get Social Security, veterans' benefits or government pensions.

— The price of milk could double. If Congress doesn't provide a fix for expiring dairy price supports before Jan. 1, milk-drinking families could feel the pinch. One scenario is to attach a farm bill extension to the fiscal cliff legislation — if a compromise is reached in time.

— Millions of taxpayers who want to file their 2012 returns before mid-March will be held up while they wait to see if Congress comes through with a deal to stop the alternative minimum tax from hitting more people.

___

CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF?

In theory, Congress and Obama could just say no to the fiscal cliff, by extending all the tax cuts and overturning the automatic spending reductions in current law. But both Republicans and Democrats agree it's time to take steps to put the nation on a path away from a future of crippling debt.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Minnesota prosecutor convicted of sex misconduct DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A jury on Friday convicted a northern Minnesota county attorney of sexual misconduct involving a 17-year-old girl after the prosecution argued the man was in a position of authority over the teenager. The jury found Cook County

    July 26, 2014

  • Some in 'torture' report denied chance to read it ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — About a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban

    July 26, 2014

  • Police hunt for 2 who carjacked SUV, killed 3 kids PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three siblings and critically injuring their mother and the carjacking vic

    July 26, 2014

  • 1 hurt in fiery Twin Cities interstate crash ROSEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say one person was hurt in a fiery crash involving four vehicles on a Twin Cities interstate. The crash on Interstate 35 brought morning traffic to a halt during a rainy commute. The Minnesota State Patrol says a

    July 25, 2014

  • Black box found at Air Algerie wreckage site PARIS (AP) — French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason f

    July 25, 2014

  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border MOSCOW (AP) — The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east. Ukrainian forces are trying to close in

    July 25, 2014

  • Deal still elusive for Gaza cease-fire CAIRO (AP) — Turbulent negotiations to broker a temporary truce in the Gaza Strip are continuing against the backdrop of fresh Israeli attacks on Palestinian militants. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban

    July 25, 2014

  • Transcript shows concerns during Arizona execution FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent — and unusual — request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't seem to be workin

    July 25, 2014

  • Sniper-Author-Ventura [Duplicate] Day 3 of deliberations ends in Ventura lawsuit Jury has deliberated 19 hours

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man accused of stealing from group HASTINGS (AP) — An Apple Valley man is charged with five counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $113,000 from a Rosemount youth athletics group. Sixty-two-year-old Robert Steven Reischauer was the former finance manager of the Rosemount Ar

    July 24, 2014