The broad indexes ended mixed, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned about the "fiscal cliff," which is the set of tax increases and federal spending cuts mandated for 2013 under the August 2011 deal between President Obama and the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives, without further action from the President and Congress.
Speaking at the New York Economic Club, Bernanke warned that "the automatic tax increases and spending cuts that make up the fiscal cliff, absent offsetting changes, would pose a substantial threat to the recovery--indeed, by the reckoning of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and that of many outside observers, a fiscal shock of that size would send the economy toppling back into recession." Bernanke also said that early next year "it will be necessary to approve an increase in the federal debt limit to avoid any possibility of a catastrophic default on the nation's Treasury securities and other obligations."
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