Nebraskans Sound Off On the Fiscal Cliff

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With the election over, politicans are back in Washington working on the fiscal cliff. The fiscal cliff is a popular term describing the financial situation the federal government will face at the end of the year.

Letting the government go over the fiscal cliff would significantly curb the federal deficit. But if that does happen, tax hikes and automatic spending cuts would kick in, and economist say, that could send the nation into another recession.

One major part of the fiscal cliff is the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts.
Economists say this would mean $2,000 to $3,000 in additional taxes for the average American. And it's not something Nebraskans like to hear.

"I actually think that raising taxes is really not the way to go. I really think everybody needs to look at their budgets and trim. We can't continue to go higher and higher and spend and spend. And for the general public, more taxes, I think everybody's experiencing as much taxes as they could handle, along with grocery prices and gas prices remaining so high," said Michelle Caspersen of Grand Island.

"I think some of those that they're grouping in the category of making more than $200,000 a year are small businesses. They're kind of the backbone of the Nebraska economy, and I think you've got to be really careful about raising their taxes," said Grand Island resident Steve Barger.

Higher taxes and higher prices has small business owners worried. Caspersen owns Garage Mall, a Grand Island consignment shop, along with Diane Wiese and several other women.

"We can't continue to sell used consigned merchandise at a fair price to the public if we can't get the building at a reasonable price," said Wiese.

Instead, some are suggesting that the government cut down spending on things like private jets, instead of important programs.

"We need to talk about the small dollars. Small dollars add up to big dollars in the end, and I think there are some places in the government that are being abused," Caspersen said.

And while many Nebraskans think there's still a gridlock in Washington, they said they believe their elected officials can come together to avoid the fiscal cliff.

"Everybody's watching, and I think they may all disagree on how to do it, but in the end they all want the same thing in avoiding the fiscal cliff," said Grand Island resident Anne Buettner.

"I think they can but both sides are going to have to compromise," added Barger.

Cuts to defense spending and medicare are among the other planned actions. If the fiscal cliff is not avoided, the Congressional Budget Office has said that millions of Americans will lose their jobs.