The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

November 13, 2012

Most in US won't be able to escape 'fiscal cliff'

(Continued)

Defense spending would shrink 10 percent. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said those cuts would cause temporary job losses among civilian Pentagon employees and major defense contractors. Spending on weapons programs would be cut.

For domestic programs, like highway funding, aid to state and local governments and health research, spending would drop about 8 percent. Education grants to states and localities; the FBI and other law enforcement; environmental protection; and air traffic controllers, among others, would also be affected, the White House says.

Hospitals and doctors' offices could also cut jobs if an $11 billion cut in Medicare payments isn't reversed.

Extended unemployment benefits for about 2 million people would end. The extra benefits provide up to 73 weeks of aid.

"It would be nice if we could ... address these issues before the very last moment," said Donald Marron, the Tax Policy Center's director.

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