The challenge here is to state what you want to happen in the budget negotiations with the following rules: 1. No blaming anybody, Democrat or Republican, for getting us into the current mess. 2. Focus on what you WANT the Congress to do or not do regardless of who votes on what. At stake in the current budget deal necessary to avoid the fiscal cliff: If nothing is done, massive across the board budget cuts will hit the most vulnerable people the hardest. Also just some of what must be considered: Income tax rates will go up. AMT kicks back in at 2000 rates. The capital-gains tax rate will increase to 20%. Dividend income will be taxed as ordinary income. The estate tax will revert to a top rate of 55%, with an exemption amount of $1 million. Payroll taxes will go back up (nobody seems to want to extend these) Debt ceiling currently at 16.4 trilllion will have to be extended Other tax provisions expire. Dozens of popular tax breaks expired at the end of 2011, and before 2012 ends Congress must decide whether to extend them, retroactively, to the beginning of this year. The list includes several business provisions as well as a variety of deductions for individual filers, including the IRA charitable rollover, which allowed individuals over the age of 70½ to roll as much as $100,000 from their Individual Retirement Account directly to a charity. Also on the list is the important AMT "patch" discussed above. Excerpted from: http://www.heritage.org/research/re...s/2011/01/wm3121_chart2.ashx?w=400&h=571&as=1 Also included is the uncertainty that is preventing American business from investing trillions of dollars of venture capital and thereby prolonging a crappy economy will continue. And yet many believe the Presidents proposals will hit the middle class the hardest while doing little to make a dent in unacceptable budget deficits. While others believe the Republicans unwillingness to accept the Presidents proposals are purely to obstruct his agenda and protect the rich. Expenditures each year: 2008 $2,983 billion 2009 $3,518 billion 2010 $3,456 billion 2011 (est.) $3,819 billion 2012 is on track to exceed the 2011 expenditures. Robert Hansen's Blog: Federal Government Spending, 2008-2011 The national debt as of 8:39 p.m. GMT today: And the deficits continue at a trillion plus each year and are projected to do so far into the future with the debt clock running at blurring speed. SO WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO DO?