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Fiscal zombie apocalypse in Washington? Obama and Congress on taxes. (+video)

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(Read caption) President Obama's proposal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for those making under $250,000 cuts to the heart of the controversy over what it will take to save the struggling U.S. economy.
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Washington is facing a zombie apocalypse.

GOP presidential aspirant Mitt Romney whacks President Obama for presiding over a “zombie economy.” Rep. Jim Cooper (D) of Tennesee says Congress is remiss in its duties by putting off tough financial decisions until after the election, a season he calls the “zombie Congress” for the number of lawmakers who won’t be back in the new year.

And even more ghoulish, the last two years of economic policymaking in Washington show a White House and Congress beset by a recurring set of fiscal issues. If Washington deals with these problems at all, it's only temporarily, thus setting the nation on a course of constant fiscal crisis and brinksmanship, until Congress musters the political will to resolve them.

The White House had its own brush with the living dead Monday as President Obama reanimated perhaps the most gruesome of all the nation’s undead issues by arguing for a one-year extension of the Bush tax cuts for households making less than $250,000.

What Mr. Obama largely skipped over in his speech from the White House’s East Room? What happens in one year.

In other words, even as economists and lawmakers aligned with both parties decry the negative impact of uncertainty around taxing and spending on the nation’s economy, the issue of what the vast majority of Americans should pay to Uncle Sam will be upon us again in (at best) 12 months.

A look at the year-end fiscal cliff – or an accumulation of expiring taxing and spending provisions expected to take $560 billion out of the US economy – shows the extent to which Washington can’t put its financial demons to rest.


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