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What exactly is the 'Fiscal Cliff?' Some Western New Yorkers weigh in

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Buffalo: What exactly is the 'Fiscal Cliff?' Some Western New Yorkers weigh in
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It's become the most talked about political issue since President Obama was re-elected last month: the so-called "Fiscal Cliff." But what exactly is the "fiscal cliff"? YNN's Kevin Jolly tried to find out how much the average person know about the "Fiscal Cliff" and how it could affect them.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — With just about three weeks to go before the December 31st deadline, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are at a stalemate over the so-called economic apocalypse known as the "Fiscal Cliff".

But exactly what is this "cliff" that has President Obama and House Republicans delivering daily statements about the impending economic doom?

YNN went to "Main Street" to find out what people know about the "Fiscal Cliff."

"They can extend Bush's tax for the rich, then middle class and the poor we're gonna just be in trouble," said Lynn Canty.

"I thought it was just the end of the Republicans fighting against the Democrats to get these bills and everything settled. Am I wrong? I don't know," said Ronald Bruckman.

"It's what the Congress wants to pass as far as increasing the tax rates and cutting the spending to get this deficit under control," said Mike Keral.

"It’s a combination of tax cuts and spending increases that are set to take place if Congress doesn't approve a different plan by the end of their congressional session, which is next week" said Joelle Leclaire.

Leclaire, a Buffalo State economics professor, says this isn't the first time the country has faced a fiscal cliff. President Bill Clinton faced a similar crisis.

"The reason we're discussing this fiscal cliff is because Congress doesn't believe that it's okay for us to have a growing deficit right now and they really want to deal with this major deficit that we have that's been growing since 2008, since the financial crisis," said Leclaire.

President Obama's $1.6 trillion plan proposes raising taxes on wealthy Americans who make more than $250,000. Republicans want to extend tax breaks to wealthy Americans and cut health care programs, raising about $800 billion over the next decade.

Leclaire believes even with all the political posturing in the end, it's unlikely any programs will be cut.

"My expectation is that they might not come to an agreement so they're going to look like tough guys but in the end they’re not going follow through with the actual cuts," said Leclaire. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP