The Fiscal Cliff

By Diane Alter, Contributing Writer, Money Morning

<!--/post-meta-->A fresh fiscal cliff report from the White House today (Monday) has predicted that falling off the cliff will deliver a damaging blow to U.S. consumer spending.

The report from the White House's National Economic Council and Council of Economic Advisers cautioned that consumers will rein in spending next year to the tune of some $200 billion should Congress let taxes increase for middle class American families come 2013.

"American consumers are the bedrock of our economy, driving more than two-thirds of the overall rise in real GDP over 13 consecutive quarters of economic recovery since the middle of 2009. And as we approach the holiday season, which accounts for close to one-fifth of industry sales, retailers can't afford the threat of tax increases on middle-class families," the report stressed.

The report is the latest ammo that U.S. President Barack Obama is using to sway lawmakers to go along with his plan to extend tax cuts for American families making less than $250,000 a year, while raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1%, which Republicans vehemently oppose.

"The president has called on Congress to act now on extending income tax cuts for 98% of American families and not hold the middle-class and our economy hostage over a disagreement on tax cuts for households over $250,000 per year. The Senate has passed this bill and the president is ready to sign it," the report read.

With the Dec. 31 fiscal cliff deadline quickly approaching, Democrats and Republicans continue to butt heads over tax issues, as well as government spending and entitlement expenditures. If the two sides don't come to some kind of deal and we fall over the fiscal cliff, a 2013 recession is likely.

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