What exactly is the "fiscal cliff"?
It is the shorthand term used to describe the conundrum that the U.S. government will face at the end of 2012, when the terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 are set to go into effect.
Among the laws set to change on Dec. 31 are the end of last year's temporary payroll tax cuts, the end of certain tax breaks for businesses, shifts in the alternative minimum tax that would take a larger bite, the end of the tax cuts from 2001-03, and the beginning of taxes related to President Obama's health care law. At the same time, the spending cuts agreed upon as part of the debt ceiling deal of 2011 will begin to go into effect.
Times Student Staff Writer Katie Davidson roamed the halls of CHS this week to gauge the fiscal cliff knowledge level.
Emma Dufault, senior: "It's if Congress can't decide to raise the debt limit, then we will go back into recession."
Seth Knaack, senior: "If we go over it our country dies."
Tom Chapman, teacher: "It's more than one part. President Bush's income tax cut expires and will go back to what it was before. Some time in 2012, since Congress couldn't decide on budget cuts they passed a resolution that if they couldn't come to an agreement on budget cuts automatic cuts would go into place. President Obama implemented on a temporary deduction on Social Security tax that expires sometime at the end of the year. Now they're worried that all three of these things will happen at the same time sending our economy into recession."