News / USA

Fiscal Cliff Talks Have Californians Nervous

Fiscal Cliff Talks have Californians Nervousi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Mike O'Sullivan
December 18, 2012 6:29 PM
President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress are engaged in talks to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff" -- major spending cuts and tax hikes that will go into effect in January, if an agreement on reducing the federal government's debt is not reached by the end of the year. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles that "going over the cliff" would be felt across the country, particularly in California.
Fiscal Cliff Talks have Californians Nervous
Mike O'Sullivan
President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Congress are engaged in talks to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff" -- major spending cuts and tax hikes that will go into effect in January, if an agreement on reducing the federal government's debt is not reached by the end of the year. 

Medical patient Robbie Reynolds relies on a community clinic for her health care. “I don't think I would have made it without them, all the years that I've been coming here, because there were times that I just needed urgent care,” Reynolds explained.

This health center is called T. H. E. Clinic -- the letters stand for “To Help Everyone” -- and it relies in part on federal government funding.

Clinic president Rise Phillips says the facility's work could be threatened if the president and Congress fail to reach an agreement. “I'm most concerned that the fiscal cliff, if it actually happens, that there are $167 million in cuts that potentially impact clinics like mine,” she asserted.

California is a center for government research, like at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where the U.S. unmanned space program is based as well as at facilities such as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory near San Francisco, and at the 10-campus University of California system.

It is estimated that the state would lose more than $11 billion over five years in automatic spending cuts for defense, energy and space research, causing job losses that would ripple throughout the state.

At Operation Hope, a non-profit organization that promotes financial literacy, the unemployed and underemployed can look for jobs or start a business at a cybercafé.  Operation Hope's Leonardo Cablayan says people are anxious. “They're looking at how it's going to affect their health care coverage," he said. "How it's going to affect things that currently are entitlements that are helping them...such as extended unemployment benefits, which have been paid by the federal government, but are due to expire."

Those who are working worry about changes to the tax code that would reduce their take-home pay, and business owners worry that consumers will cut back on spending.

Economist Lee Ohanian of the University of California, Los Angeles, wants stable tax rates that are low enough to promote economic growth.  He says that without congressional intervention to avert the fiscal cliff, the federal tax rate for top earners in California, combined with state and local taxes, would reach 60 percent.  Ohanian says that would slow the creation of new jobs. “And we have a jobs problem in our economy.  And that will get worse if Congress passes the wrong policies or if the fiscal cliff comes about,” he said.

Others are worried about uncertainly for the funding of social programs.

Howard Kahn of the LA Care Health Plan, a publicly run health plan with more than 1 million members, says health care is undergoing a major expansion because of President Obama's Affordable Care Act. “So we're busy.  We're almost too busy to spend much time worrying about it," he added. "We do that in our spare time in the evening.”

Economist Lee Ohanian says he hopes that the president and Congress will at least reach a partial agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, as they work out the details of government debt reduction in the coming months.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid