What's In US Fiscal Cliff And Who'd Pay How Much

The Associated Press

American consumers and businesses will pay much higher taxes next year if a package of tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" takes effect as scheduled Jan. 1.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the measures would push the economy into recession and drive the unemployment rate to 9.1 percent next year. The rate is now 7.9 percent.

Below are the main elements. The estimated dollar figures are for calendar year 2013: Amount, in billionsHigher taxes on income below $250,000, higher estate taxes, alternative minimum tax.$279Higher taxes on income above $250,000.52Expiration of Social Security tax cut.115Expiration of temporary tax breaks for businesses and individuals.110Expiration of extended unemployment benefits.30Defense spending cuts.32Across-the-board cuts to education, health, law enforcement, other programs.53Total671Source: CBO, Tax Policy Center

The tax increases wouldn't affect everyone equally, though all taxpayers would pay more. Here are the average increases for people at different income levels: Income levelTax increaseLowest 20% ($20,113 or less)$412Low-middle 20% ($20,114 - $39,790)1,231Middle 20% ($39,791 - $64,484)1,984Upper-middle 20% ($64,485 - $108,266)3,540Highest 20% ($108,267 and above)14,173Top 1% ($506,210 and above)120,537Source: Tax Policy Center
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