Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Economy recovery likely â¿¿ benefiting election winner

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Eventually the economic recovery will pick up steam â¿¿ whether President Barack Obama stays in the White House or Mitt Romney moves in.

That's what many economic outlooks project. And the president â¿¿ and the party occupying the Oval Office â¿¿ will reap some of the benefits.

But first, Obama or Romney, together with Congress, will have to pull back from the widely deplored "fiscal cliff," the politically created budget abyss facing the nation at year's end.

The betting on that ranges from mild optimism to nail-biting anxiety. But most economic analysts agree that if Washington resolves that looming crisis, Americans can expect faster economic growth and lower unemployment.

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Bernanke makes strong defense of Fed rate policies

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Chairman Ben Bernanke offered a wide-ranging defense Monday of the Federal Reserve's bold policies to stimulate the still-weak economy.

The Fed needs to drive down long-term borrowing rates because the economy isn't growing fast enough to reduce high unemployment, Bernanke said in a speech to the Economic Club of Indiana. The national unemployment rate is 8.1 percent.

Low rates could also help shrink the federal budget deficit by easing the government's borrowing costs and generating tax revenue from stronger growth, Bernanke argued.

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Huge tax increase looms at year-end 'fiscal cliff'

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ A typical middle-income family making $40,000 to $64,000 a year could see its taxes go up by $2,000 next year if lawmakers fail to renew a lengthy roster of tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, according to a new report Monday

Taxpayers across the income spectrum would be hit with large tax hikes, the Tax Policy Center said in its study, with households in the top 1 percent income range seeing an average tax increase of more than $120,000, while a family making between $110,000 and $140,000 could see a tax hike in the $6,000 range.

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