Thursday Jan 03, 201306:33 PM GMT
Fiscal cliff ‘smoke screen’ for US problems: Economist
Thu Jan 3, 2013 6:33PM
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An American economist says the fiscal cliff bill is a “smoke screen” to divert attention from graver economic problems in the US including Washington’s massive debt buildup, Press TV reports.

“Our problems are deeper than this,” said economist and political commentator Rollin Amore. “…the problems of spending, [and] the problems of amassing more and more government debt, exceed the fiscal cliff issue.”

On Wednesday, US President Barack Obama signed into law the ‘American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012’, whose original bill had been backed by the Senate, to avert the fiscal cliff.

On January 1, the House of Representatives voted 257 to 167, approving the bill, which consists of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, while exempting others who earn less than USD450,000 a year. It will also put off 109 billion dollars in budget cuts for two months.

Amore noted that Obama believes the bill is a victory for the middle-class Americans, but although “the payroll taxes will be up by 2 percentage points across the board…the real tax cuts that stayed in place from the original tax cuts are for incomes below USD400,000; so there is a shift in the tax cut curb based on that.”

New financial deadlines are set for the coming months, when the US Treasury Department will run out of borrowing authority in late February and Congress will be asked to raise the debt ceiling.

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