How will the fiscal bargain affect you? Here are some of the big possible ways, with income taxes listed last (but not least in importance):
The long-term unemployed. Emergency unemployment insurance benefits will be extended for a year, helping an estimated 2 million out-of-work Americans.
Milk drinkers. Dairy prices won't spike, thanks to this legislation. Without action to extend 2012 policies, milk prices appeared set to surge as US law reverted to a 1949 pricing system. To families that already feel as if milk is a personal budget-buster, this prospect was so fearsome that it had its own name: the "dairy cliff."
Home sellers. For legions of would-be sellers whose mortgage balances are larger than the home's market value, the legislation extends important tax relief. Borrowers will still be able to arrange a "short sale," when the lender agrees to accept less than the full balance due on the mortgage, without having to treat the forgiven debt as taxable income. That's good news for the housing market, because short sales are a major alternative to foreclosure for would-be home sellers.
Working people. The expiration of a temporary payroll-tax cut means that workers will again pay 6.2 percent of their paychecks toward Social Security, up from last year's level of 4.2 percent. When Medicare taxes are added in, and the share paid by both employers and employees is included, payroll taxes devour more than 15 cents of every dollar in wages.