Nation Heading Over the Fiscal Cliff

Despite weeks of negotiations, Congress appears unable to reach a budget deal that would prevent the nation from going over the fiscal cliff.

After months of delay on the 2012 Farm Bill, farmers across the country pinned the last of their hopes on a last-minute budget agreement. Politicians from Tom Vilsack to Debbie Stabenow hoped that the farm bill could be wrapped into the budget deal, allowing Congress to lower the deficit while simultaneously passing vital farm legislation.

Despite a series of negotiations between Speaker of the House John Boehner and President Barack Obama, a budget deal appears to have fallen through. Earlier this week, Speaker Boehner was forced to withdraw a tax deal (one that made the Bush tax cuts permanent for everyone making less than $1 million), facing internal division within the GOP caucus.

Boehner’s inability to pass a tax deal with his own caucus has led many political insiders to question his ability to pass a compromise on the budget that will also pass the Democratic Senate and be approved by the White House.

With Congress all but guaranteeing that the country will go over the fiscal cliff, farmers are beginning to prepare for the financial fallout. While estate taxes and income taxes will go up without a deal, Congress is likely to pass an emergency tax cut at the beginning of 2013. The larger economic ramifications, including a possible recession, however, are impossible to predict, leading many farmers to worry about their futures.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer