MUCH of the talk in Washington about the deadline to reach a deal to reduce trillion-dollar annual deficits has centered on the effect on the federal government.
Missing the deadline would send the government off a so-called fiscal cliff that called for spending reductions.
But that fiscal cliff also would cut the spending of 121 million Americans - or more.
If Congress and the president fail to take preventive action, all the Bush tax cuts would be wiped out. That would reduce several tax credits for low-income earners, parents and students, and would affect way more than the upper 1 percent of Americans.
Roughly 90 percent of American households would face higher tax bills next year, according to the liberal Tax Policy Center.
"A married couple making between $20,000 and $30,000 a year would go from receiving, on average, a $15 tax credit to owing $1,408," reported the Wall Street Journal, using data from the center.
The Social Security tax on wages would rise from
4.2 percent back to the 6.2 percent it had been for a quarter-century following the last Social Security reform. That would take a bite out of 121 million workers.
Then there is the tax credit that Congress doubled to $1,000 per child under President Bush.