Washington’s Democratic and Republican power brokers have sent the message to the nation that going over the fiscal cliff is a worst-case scenario. But they’re not acting that way, not at all.
Instead, many of them have calculated that it’s better to go over the cliff — at least temporarily — than swallow a raw deal.
For many Republicans, a cliff dive means blaming President Barack Obama for a big tax hike in the short term and then voting to cut taxes for most Americans next month. That’s an easier sell back home in Republican-heavy districts than a pre-cliff deal that raises taxes on folks making over $250,000 or $400,000, extends unemployment benefits and does little if anything to curb entitlement spending. If they back a bad deal now, they run the risk of facing primary challenges in two years.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/why-they-want-to-go-over-the-fiscal-cliff-85544.html#ixzz2GM8FUkpk
One last meeting at White House
President Obama will meet with Congressional leaders on Friday, and House Republicans summoned lawmakers back for a Sunday session, in a last-ditch effort to avert a fiscal crisis brought on by automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to hit next week.
Expectations remain low
President Barack Obama and congressional leaders were set to meet on Friday for the first time since November with no sign of progress in resolving their differences over the federal budget and low expectations for a “fiscal cliff” deal before January 1.
Will ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Accelerate Millionaire Deaths?
Because the “fiscal cliff” will not stop for death, it looks as if death’s carriage may make a “kindly” stop to pick up some American millionaires this year, to paraphrase Emily Dickinson.
In 2010, after a year in which the estate tax was zeroed out altogether, Congress passed a law that set the estate tax at 35 percent and exempted all estates under $5 million, adjusted for inflation. That law expires in January 2013 when the exemption will fall to $1 million and the tax will rise to 55 percent.
Many families are faced with a stark proposition. If the life of an elderly wealthy family member extends into 2013, the tax bills will be substantially higher. An estate that could bequest $3 million this year will leave just $1.9 million after taxes next year. Shifting a death from January to December could produce $1.1 million in tax savings.