Avoiding the cliff

Updated

Once the final chapter of the presidential campaign is written on November 6th, the political drama will return to Capitol Hill and the looming fiscal cliff.

At the moment, politicians are driving the country right towards the proverbial edge, afraid to slam on the breaks or turn the wheel, since doing so would require tackling politically unpopular decisions before election day.

The impact, though, can’t be understated. The potent mix of spending cuts and tax hikes could send the country into recession, cause unemployment to reach 9% and result in 90% of taxpayers paying on average of $3,500 more in taxes. Business leaders are so stressed about going over the cliff that they’re now urging lawmakers to reach a deal. Any deal.

Today, CNBC’s John Harwood joined the show to talk about what it will take for politicians to hammer out a deal in the seven or so weeks between the election and the end of the year. The major sticking point is over revenue. Democrats want to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire on individuals making more than $200,000 and families earning north of $250,000, but Republicans are demanding they be extended for everyone. The outcome of the election could very well determine who has the upper hand in steering the country back from the brink.

Avoiding the cliff

Updated