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Senate Preps Final Vote On Tax Deal

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WASHINGTON (CBS4) – The politicians on Capitol Hill keep pressing Tuesday for an $858 billion tax deal that would extend Bush era cuts for all Americans regardless of income, extend unemployment benefits and provide a host of other tax breaks for a still recovering economy.

It is another stimulus plan, even though you won’t find a single politician willing to call it that. If the deal isn’t done some estimates say income taxes would be raised about $3000 on average for American households.

The tentative deal comes after a campaign season in which everybody seemed to complain that the national debt is going to bankrupt the country.

However, when push comes to shove it is hard to find people willing to pay higher taxes to help curb that dangerous tide of red ink.

Coral Springs resident Maurice Tricarico said, “I think right now with the state of the economy and unemployment I’d have to go with passing it (the end of Bush era tax cuts) down the road a little bit.”

President Obama wanted to end tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans, those making more than $250,000 per household. Tricarico had no problem with that, “I don’t think it will cause those people to miss any meals.”

Republicans held fast—saying it was all or nothing on tax break extensions. The president finally agreed, unwilling to risk the possibility of hiking taxes for middle and low income Americans on January 1st.

Doral resident Frank Jensing told CBS4’s Michael Williams, “I don’t think the top two percent should be penalized. That is the American dream. I want to make it. I want to be successful and I don’t want to be penalized for doing that.”

The tax deal—assuming final passage by the end of the week—would have a higher price tag than the original federal stimulus package in 2009, a package Republicans said was a waste of money. The estimated tab this time around is $814 billion.

The debt keeps climbing into the stratosphere. Brickell resident Sarah Greg worries about that but argued, “I think we have plenty of taxes we already pay, state and local, so I am definitely for the tax break.”

Hard choices and the tax deal on the table again delays the answer to the hardest one of all—namely will the American public and politicians ever be ready to face the tough calls on taxes and spending that will be needed if runaway national debt is to be tamed?

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