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Obama And Boehner Have First Post-Election Meeting To Avert Fiscal Cliff

On December 9, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner held their first post-election meeting in an effort to continue the budget negotiations that will be required for the U.S. to avoid going over the fiscal cliff.

Representatives for both Boehner and Obama neglected to publicly release the details of the discussion, but they provided identical statements saying that the "lines of communication remain open," according to Bloomberg.

The lawmakers crucial to the approval of the needed budget negotiations have thus far disagreed on where the needed spending reductions should be made, and what should be done to increase tax revenue, according to Fox News Latino.

Urgency 

Global conglomerate GE's chief executive Jeff Immelt stated that the Washington officials involved need to finalize a deal as soon as possible, and that increasing tax revenue will be an inevitable component of the agreement, the media outlet reports.

"The millions of people that work for us, their lives are in flux. And this is incredibly critical we get this done now," the conglomerate's top official said in statements that were aired on CBS This Morning. "Everyone knows we need revenue," since more than budget cuts are needed to arrive at an agreement.

Severe Economic Headwinds

If the lawmakers involved do not succeed in arriving at an agreement on the budget before January 1, it will result in more than $600 billion worth of tax increases and budget cuts to be automatically triggered.

Both individuals and businesses would face higher tax rates as a result of this event, and government spending including both domestic and defense programs would receive substantial reductions.

The combined economic headwinds that would be caused by these fiscal changes would plunge the U.S. into recession in 2013, according to a prediction made by the Congressional Budget Office earlier in the year.

Even if the cliff is avoided, the budget reductions and higher taxes that will be needed to stave off this event could push the nation into recession, Harvard economist Martin Feldstein said recently. He noted that economic growth has been sluggish, which means that the country is not far from being in another downturn.

Progress

Fox Latino News reports that leading members of the Republican party are facing increasing pressure to shift their priorities in the aftermath of the recent election. "There is a growing group of folks looking at this and realizing that we don't have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue before year end," Senator Bob Corker, told "Fox News Sunday."

He added that lawmakers agree to raise taxes on the top 2 percent of Americans that receive special tax credits, discussion will then move toward entitlement spending, which is an area where these Washington officials can improve the nation's fiscal state significantly. Obama has repeatedly called for higher taxes on high wage earners, and even pointed to his reelection as evidence that the nation's voters support his position on this policy.

CBS News reports that Republicans who are open to negotiations will still require the other lawmakers crucial to the discussions will require reductions in entitlement spending and that attention be paid to the debt ceiling issue. Corker said that focusing on entitlement spending is crucial, and that the national debt will soon come close to its limit.

Regardless of their differences, former Bill Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles told CBS News that "I think we made some progress this week."

Both the fiscal cliff and the budget concessions needed avoid it could impact your company, so what are you doing to make your firm ready for these headwinds? 

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