POLL: Will Congress and the President Avoid the Fiscal Cliff?
The package of tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" takes effect in January unless Congress passes a budget deal by then. The economy would be hit so hard that it would likely sink into recession in the first half of 2013, economists say.
Middle income families would have to pay an average of about $2,000 more next year, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has calculated.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates 3.4 million jobs would be lost and the unemployment rate would reach 9.1 percent from the current 7.9 percent.