Fiscal Cliff To Impact Families

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Fourth and fifth graders from Explorer Elementary in Williamston are excited to take part in a week long science lesson at Impression 5. But with the U.S. Government approaching a fiscal cliff, it could mean that trips like these don't happen. That's because under the current law, among other programs there will be more than a billion dollars in cuts to education spending.

"If our nation truly wants a world class education system to prepare students for a globally competitive future than we would strongly urge congress and the administration to amend the budget control act, and protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and american competitiveness," said Kathy Hayes the Executive Director of the Michigan Association of School Boards.

While the kids learning at Impression 5 aren't too concerned with the fiscal cliff, their parents and teachers are thinking about it.

"You begin to feel just kind of powerless, with what's going on and the people who are making the decisions without I think really understanding what's being lost because once it's lost with these kids it's lost forever," said John Nagy a teacher at Explorer.

The fiscal cliff could mean a weakening of the economy, a rise in unemployment, and throw the country into another recession.

"Recession is a nice economic word, that means, job losses, it means lower wages, it means families hurting," said Ken Sikkema of the Campaign to Fix the Debt. "This is not just an economic and a national security threat, although those are significant. This is a moral issue. This generation, my generation simply cannot in good conscious saddle this enormous burden on the next generation with all of it's consequences."

The Lansing Chamber of Commerce is asking people to join the Campaign to Fix the Debt by signing a petition online and not only solve the short term problem of the fiscal crisis but also the bigger, long term problem of the nation's growing debt.

The link to the online petition can be found at

If the nation does fall off the fiscal cliff, it would also directly affect Michigan wallets. If Congress doesn't do anything before January first, then the Bush-era tax cuts would expire and the alternative minimum tax would kick in. That means half of all married couples with two children would owe an extra $4,000 in taxes each year. That's on top of the additional two-percent payroll tax increase for most workers--- because the 2011 temporary payroll tax also expires. Then you add in the automatic spending cuts in about a thousand of government programs including defense, medicare and extended unemployment benefits. Bottom line, the fiscal cliff will affect every American.

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