What is the fiscal cliff?

  • Updated: November 7, 2012 - 8:56 PM

 

What it is: Nearly $500 billion in automatic tax hikes -- George W. Bush-era rates expire -- and $110 billion in spending cuts in defense and domestic programs will be triggered.

The deadline: Jan. 1; with Congress to return next week, policymakers will have just 49 days to reach consensus.

Why it's happening: The deal was agreed to as a consequence of a supercommittee's failure to settle on a more tailored package of spending cuts and new revenue.

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