Driving the Day: 12/17/12

Dec 17, 2012

Need to know…

  • The Fiscal Cliff Debate Goes On. Speaker Boehner has offered to push any debt limit fight off for a year, a major concession that is breathing new life into talks. Boehner’s offer also includes a proposal to raise tax rates for people making more than $1 million a year, generating $460 billion over the next decade. Boehner’s proposal would generate $2 trillion in savings over the next decade. The White House rejected the offer, saying it would raise too little cash to significantly dent record deficits and does nothing to extend emergency unemployment benefits into the New Year. Though it was rejected, Boehner’s offer fundamentally transforms the negotiations.
  • Obama Signs Russia Trade Bill. President Obama signed into law a bill to remove Cold War-era restrictions on trade with Russia and establish permanent normal trade relations with Moscow. The U.S. government had been granting waivers to Russia under the Jackson-Vanik amendment for years. Repeal of the antiquated law was necessary to normalize trade relations after Russia joined the World Trade Organization this year.
  • Possible Volatile Swings on Wall Street from Fiscal Cliff. Wall Street analysts are finding it hard to price the potential impacts of a fiscal cliff deal, raising the possibility of a wild swing in the market if and when a deal is announced. The markets have maintained an even keel during the negotiations, reflecting optimism among traders that a deal will be reached. However, analysts in New York say the markets could shift violently once the outlines of an agreement come into focus.

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