YOUR TURN: The Fiscal Cliff — What Deal Would You Cut?

Massachusetts Democrats in Congress want to avoid cuts in benefits as part of any deal, but proposals such as raising the eligibility age for Medicare are still on the table. What would you do?

As Congress negotiates a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" on Jan. 1, Massachusetts' congressional representatives have voiced their opposition to any cuts in benefits such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the Boston Globe reports.

However, there are proposals still on the table that would change those benefit programs, including linking Social Security benefits to a more conservative inflation index that would slightly reduce annual increases, or raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67.

The Globe reported that while the Bay State's legislators were united against changes to Social Security, there's some wiggle room on Medicare. Rep. Ed Markey opposes raising the Medicare eligibility age; Rep. Michael Capuano would consider raising the age in trade for higher tax rates on the wealthy; and Rep. Richard Neal would consider raising the eligibility of Medicare by one month a year.

The fiscal cliff is partly a result of a deal struck in August 2011 to raise the debt ceiling. On Jan. 1, the Bush tax cuts would expire, as would extended unemployment benefits and a payroll tax cut. There would also be $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, an automatic reduction if a joint Congressional committee couldn't come up with a list of cuts to present to lawmakers for approval.

Without a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, a White House report says that a Massachusetts family of four, earning $86,000, would see its income taxes rise by $2,200, the Globe reports.

Some pundits have advocated going over the fiscal cliff—not striking a deal, allowing the tax cuts to expire and spending cuts to go into effect on Jan. 1—as a way to strengthen their side in tax negotiations or to rationalize the tax code.

The Tax Policy Center has created a calculator that shows the effect the fiscal cliff would have on different households, and allows comparisons with alternative tax policies presented by both Democrats and Republicans.

What deal would you strike to avoid the fiscal cliff? Which tax cuts would you keep and which would you allow to expire? Would you raise the eligibility age for Medicare? Agree to Social Security changes? Or advocate going over the fiscal cliff? Tell us in the comments.

John Merrett December 03, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Truth is a liberals kryptonite. They raise fees on the elderly and disabled and then give tuition breaks to illegals. People deserve the government they get, but if I was them, I'd learn how to pray real quick.
Sean Ward December 03, 2012 at 03:25 AM
All members of congress, the senate, supreme court, the president and the cabinet should take $1 pay until the deficit is erased. A small business owner would have to do the same if they ran a company this way.
MikeA December 03, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Data from Pennsylvania - "the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045." As income rises from $29k to 69k, a low income person starts losing out on all kinds of government benefits. So its better to make $29k or more than $69k. Make anything in between would be foolish. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-11-27/when-work-punished-tragedy-americas-welfare-state
Carl Reppucci December 04, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Dennis Towns don't have money to fund their pensions. They also borrow money and do not spend wisely. And it is not up to us - town puts out a vote on a meals tax created by Deval Patrick that allowed negative votes to be overturned by constantly allowing votes to happen until they win the tax with a 3 year wait to vote it out - how convenient. Then during the vote a hush hush about a tax rate increase. If you can't stop it locally - not likely to happen at Fed level - that is my point. The democrats like to spend - again - look at funding for a "big bird" - they spend lavishly just like our school systems do, they don't spend like they have to earn the money and spend wisely with that money. Carl
Carl Reppucci December 04, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Look at the Federal Poverty Levels - that even a single person making $33000 is considered 300% above poverty level but take someone single out of college with $100000 in debt, give him/her a $60000 job and with loans, apt rent, car - they are now in poverty. Good luck! How much in taxes? If you don't control the towns and the state - remember they get federal money - your tax dollar - then cut wasteful spending locally. I just want to see, once a, winning repeal of the CPA tax, winning repeal of the meals tax - send a message locally. Carl


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