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Can We Avoid The ‘Fiscal Cliff’?

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner answers questions about averting the "fiscal cliff" on an episode of CBS' “Face the Nation" on Nov. 30, 2012. (CBS News, Chris Usher/AP)

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner answers questions about averting the “fiscal cliff” on an episode of CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Nov. 30, 2012. (CBS News, Chris Usher/AP)

The White House and Republican leaders have entered the final month of “fiscal cliff” negotiations,  trying to compromise on a way to raise revenues and cut spending to avoid an automatic $700 billion in budgetary cuts that could push the nation back into recession.

The White House insists that any deal must include higher taxes for those earning more than $250,000. Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner explained:

There’s no responsible way we can govern this country at a time of enormous threat, and risk, and challenge, uncertainty, millions of Americans retiring, huge levels of poverty, inequality, huge under-investment in education and infrastructure, with those low rates in place for future generations. Those rates are going to have to go up.

The Republicans disagree. They’re open to closing loopholes and ending deductions, but not raising tax rates. House Speaker John Boehner appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and said:

We’ve put a serious offer on the table by putting revenues up there to try to get this question resolved. But the White House has responded with virtually nothing.

What looks like a game of political brinksmanship in Washington could have huge consequences on states like Massachusetts and cities like Boston. We speak with local experts about what’s at stake, how we got here, and how we might pull back from the “cliff.”

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