Senator Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden reportedly said they are close to a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. More Washington talk with little real problem solving. From Bloomberg:
Income tax cuts would be extended on families earning up to $450,000, [an official familiar with the talks] said, with rates rising to 39.6 percent on incomes above that.
Rates on estate taxes would rise to 40 percent, on amounts above $5 million. Extensions of business tax breaks would continue through the end of 2013. There would be a permanent fix to the alternative minimum tax threshold.
The Medicare payment rate for doctors would be extended through 2013.
The contours of the possible deal would generate $600 billion toward deficit reduction. The debate over how to postpone automatic federal spending cuts remains. Democrats propose postponing it for a year, while Republicans want to allow cuts to begin taking effect with the new year.
Democrats will get a little more tax revenue; Republicans will probably get small spending cuts.