The Straits Times
Published on Nov 28, 2012

Obama to appeal to Americans on fiscal crisis


WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is taking his case to the American people as he pressures Republicans to allow tax increases on the wealthy while extending tax cuts for families earning US$250,000 (S$305,445) or less in order to avoid the looming austerity crisis known as the fiscal cliff.

The White House said on Tuesday that the president wants to build support for his approach to avoid the across-the-board tax increases and steep spending cuts in defense and domestic programs that will take effect on Jan 1 if Mr Obama and a divided Congress can't reach a deal to avoid it.

The "fiscal cliff" was the result of last summer's budget and debt deal between Mr Obama and congressional Republicans. They were intended to drive the supercommittee - evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans - to strike a compromise. But the panel deadlocked and the warring combatants have spent more time since then blaming each other for the looming cuts than seeking ways to avoid them.

Experts warn the "fiscal cliff" could send the US into another recession, and both Mr Obama and Congress agree that it could harm the country's economic recovery, but an agreement still appears far from assured.