Efforts to save the nation from falling off the so called Fiscal cliff will begin in earnest tomorrow as the president and lawmakers return to Washington from their brief Holiday break.
If no agreement is reached within the next six days, a school teacher earning $43,000 could face a $3,000 tax hike.
Also unemployment benefits for some two million people would expire.
This is typically one of the busiest shopping day of the year across the country, but the prospect of shelling out thousands of additional dollars in taxes is doing little to build consumer confidence.
There were plenty of people filling stores today, some doing exchanges or returns or spending their gift cards, but some shoppers said the uncertain future of their taxes had them thinking twice about spending too much. Other say the higher taxes aren't here yet, so they're just spending as usual.
"No it hasn't, we probably spent more this year past years," said shopper Greg Berg.
"We're probably spending less…we've kind of reined it down this year just in case," said Christmas shopper Morgan Lang.
It's not a bad idea—an average American making between $50,000 and $75,000 could see a near $3,000 tax increase if Congress does not come to an agreement.
"That's a big chunk of change that you're paying more on," said Lang.
The Fiscal Cliff is not just about taxes; it also involves a lot of jobs.
"It's whether we are able to keep a job is the bigger issue," said Sarah Weis.
Kyle and Sarah Weis both work for NASA, a government funded program.
If nothing is done in Congress, Federal budgets and programs will be cut, people will be laid off or furloughed and less government money will be put into the economy.
"For us it affects our jobs and the kind of work we do and if we can get it done in time or not so if the budget gets cut, which for NASA it does a lot," said Weis.
The Congressional Budget Office projects nationwide, three point four million jobs could be lost.
"Right now we're just trying to enjoy the holidays and be with our families, we only see them once a year and so we're just trying to enjoy that and not think about things like that at this point," said Weis.
A feeling most people out on the streets today could agree with.
"We'll find out what happens, deal with it when it comes," said Berg.
Thursday, February 20 2014 7:42 PM EST2014-02-21 00:42:09 GMT
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