Looming Fiscal Cliff by the Numbers

Budget Cuts, Combined with Tax Revenues, May Spark Recession

Yahoo Contributor Network

President Barack Obama chose Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with business leaders to let Americans know what the White House is doing to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff." CNN reveals Republicans chose to hold meetings in congressional districts that outline how the president's plan to tax the rich is bad for small business owners. If no laws are changed before Jan. 1, a series of tax cuts expire for all taxpayers while strict cuts are enforced across the entire federal budget.

The fiscal cliff has been coming for nearly a year. As such, there are some pretty big numbers associated with it.

1.2 trillion: The number of dollars the federal budget must be cut from fiscal years 2013 to 2021, per the Budget Control Act of 2011. The dollar amount could go up if Congress decides to cut more money to reduce the deficit.

1 trillion: The number of dollars the Obama administration hopes to bring into the U.S. Treasury by raising income tax rates on the richest Americans. CNN Money reports taxes on the rich can increase by changing tax percentages or by decreasing deductions and loopholes.

3,500: The number, in dollars, the average household could pay more in taxes in 2013 if Congress does nothing, according to the Tax Policy Center. Less money in taxpayers' hands means less spending power. Less spending power could send America into another recession in this consumer-based economy.

21: The percentage tax liabilities would increase in 2013 for individuals and businesses. The dollar figure amounts to $536 billion of new taxes if all of the Bush-era tax cuts enacted in 2001 are allowed to expire Jan. 1.

115 billion: The number, in dollars, that the Treasury would collect from payroll tax increases if nothing is changed. That figure represents 22 percent of all revenue increases for the new year.

2 trillion: The number of dollars Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill, proposed for new tax revenues for the coming decade. The Associated Press reports Durbin's plan also cut funding for many entitlement programs to bring the federal government into a more stable fiscal position.

607 billion: The number, in dollars, by which the federal deficit will be reduced in 2013 if Congress does nothing. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States will grow by an estimated 0.5 percent in 2013 if the fiscal restraint remains as it is now.

940,000: The number of small businesses that will see a tax increase in 2013 if legislation isn't passed in December. The Senate Committee on Finance states the figure went up from 750,000 entities subject to certain taxes in 2011.

William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics.

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