Cliff Notes: Can America Avert Another Economic Crisis?

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  • Blame Game
  • What Is a Fiscal Cliff?
  • How Did We Get Here?
  • The Sit Down
  • Stalemate
  • Home Alone
  • Times a' Ticking
  • Plan Big Fail
  • How Large Would the Tax Increases Be?
  • What Does This Mean to My Wallet?
  • Will Other Taxes Rise?
  • What Kinds of Spending Cuts Will Be Made?
  • How Will Cuts Impact Entitlement Programs?
  • Are Any Programs Exempt From Automatic Cuts?
  • What Will Be the Impact on the Economy?
  • Why Won't Lawmakers Just Make a Deal?
  • What Happens If There's No Deal by Dec. 31?

How Did We Get Here?

Obama and congressional leaders struck a deal in July 2011 to extend Bush-era tax cuts and other measures, such as the payroll tax cut, designed to boost the economy and to find $1 trillion in savings over 10 years to reduce the federal deficit in exchange for Republican support to raise the debt ceiling. According to their agreement, if the savings aren't found, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts and higher taxes for everyone will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.

(Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

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