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Obama tours country asking for your change

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 28th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

President Obama is taking his fiscal cliff fight to the American people, making good on an old threat he made. The only problem is he's campaigning when perhaps he should be in Washington.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Back on the trail that was so familiar just weeks ago, Obama is meeting with public figures and business leaders to sell them on his plan to raise taxes on the wealthy. The tax increases are the centerpiece of his plan to reduce the deficit.

Obama wants more money and without it, it is unlikely a deal will be reached that avoids the fiscal cliff.

The fiscal cliff refers to a series of automatic cuts that will be broadly applied to various programs if no deal has been reached before January. Economists fear that if the fiscal cliff is reached, it will trigger another recession.

Some lawmakers, such as Rand Paul of Kentucky, fear the deal will be reached, but will consist of an agreement to raise the debt ceiling along with taxes and will be hastily contrived.

The stock market is becoming increasingly hesitant about the likelihood of an agreement before Christmas.

Obama isn't letting up pressure either. This week he is meeting with representatives of middle-class advocacy groups as well as business leaders. At the same time, Republicans are applying pressure of their own by meeting with small business owners and others who are threatened by Obama's tax increases.

However, both sides do appear ready to compromise. Earlier this week, several Republicans made clear that a no-tax pledge they took before coming into office no longer applied, signaling a willingness to allow at least some of the Bush-era tax cuts to expire.

The timing is critical. The markets have already shown promise of improvement, if a deal can be reached. The bellwether housing and job markets have shown slow, but perceptible improvement.

Many economists now say that economic drag is being caused more by the fiscal cliff uncertainty than anything else. While the European debt crisis remains a factor in international markets, the US market is poised to rebound more strongly in 2013 - if a deal is reached.

Of course, the final shape of the deal remains in doubt since neither side has sat down to discuss details. Meetings thus far have only been to urge cooperation.

Most Americans appear to favor increased taxes on the wealthy to make up the revenue gap, at least according to the polls. It also appears inevitable that taxes will rise in 2013. What remains to be seen is how broad those taxes will be and just how responsible the corresponding cuts to government spending will be as well.

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