MILWAUKEE -- Fiscal cliff negotiations continue in Washington, D.C., and it's down to the wire for Congress to reach a deal to keep the nation's economy from going over the cliff. Meanwhile, for Americans who earn an income, thousands of dollars could go missing from wallets next year if lawmakers are unable to reach a deal.
Lawmakers had months to come up with a deal, and now, the fiscal cliff is being measured in just hours. Anyone who receives a paycheck will be affected if a deal is not reached.
According to the Tax Policy Center, those in Wisconsin making between $20,000 and $40,000 could pay more than $1,200 in taxes. Those making between $40,000 and $65,000 will pay almost $2,000 more. For upper middle class workers taking in almost $110,000 will see $3,500 less per year.
UW-Milwaukee Professor of Governmental Affairs Mordecai Lee says the fiscal cliff crisis is an example of just how bad things have gotten in Washington. He says fiscal cliff negotiations are the latest example of unprecedented grid lock.
"This is the total breakdown of what is the essence of politics. The essence of politics is solving problems -- making it from 'A' to 'B' no matter what the obstacles are," Lee said.
It is not just wallets that will hurt come Tuesday, January 1st if a deal is not reached. For almost 40,000 unemployed in Wisconsin, it will be their entire income. If a deal is not reached, extended unemployment benefits will end for those who have received checks for more than 26 weeks.
Also on the line if a deal is not reached is how long some federal offices will stay open, and whether the federal government pays its debt.
Lee says he is hopeful party leaders can come up with a deal quickly, so it can be handed over for the real test -- a vote from Congress.
"I think this is just mind-boggling. I suppose this is Democracy 101 for the 21st Century," Lee said.
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