Who's Concerned About the Fiscal Cliff? Everyone But Washington Lawmakers
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With yet another major credit agency threatening to downgrade America’s credit rating if Washington fails to resolve the nation's fiscal crisis by year's end, associations representing businesses of all sizes across a broad swath of industries are calling on Congress and the President to act immediately.
A letter signed by 298 associations, including the U.S. Chamber, the Retail Industry Leader’s Association, and the Financial Services Roundtable, calls on lawmakers to stop using the upcoming elections as a delaying tactic:
“Failure to address the automatic tax increases and spending cuts would reduce economic growth and could jeopardize economic recovery. It is not responsible to wait until the end of the year to take action. The time to act is now.”
The coalition urges the following action:
- Extend all of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates (including current marginal rates, dividend and
- capital gains rates, and estate tax relief) for all taxpayers;
- Extend vital expired and expiring business tax provisions;
- Provide alternative minimum tax (AMT) relief; and
- Find spending cuts to replace a sequestration never intended to go into effect.
Only then can Congress and the president begin to address long-term fiscal imbalance through comprehensive tax reform and fundamental entitlement reform, the letter says.
This latest fiscal cliff warning from the business community comes just as Moody’s has issued a warning that it would downgrade America's prized triple A credit rating if Congress fails to reach a deficit reduction deal by the end of 2012. Standard and Poor's lowered the federal government's credit rating last August.
If Congress and the Administration fail to come to agreement, the combined effect of spending cuts and tax increases would result in a fiscal policy reduction of more than $600 billion, or about 4% of GDP—a perfect storm of contractionary tax and spending policies that could push an already fragile American economy back into recession, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and many economists.
Sadly, some politicians appear to be sleepwalking toward the cliff’s edge. Hopefully, today’s letter and the threat of yet another hit to the U.S. credit rating will wake them up before they take the whole economy with them.