Fiscal Cliff 2013: All Talk, No Answers

The blame game regarding fiscal cliff 2013 is heating up as Republicans and Democrats rally against their opposing parties - while the country inches closer to higher taxes.

At the Republican National Convention Wednesday night vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, rallied the crowd, saying presidential hopeful Mitt Romney "will not duck the tough issues" if elected. He added that a Republican administration will move forcefully to address the fiscal cliff and signal such a move to the markets.

That statement followed similar words Tuesday from New Jersey's outspoken Gov. Chris Christie who suggested Team Obama and the Democratic Party are at ease to "whistle a happy tune while driving us off the fiscal cliff, as long as they are behind the wheel."

In a poignant keynote speech at the RNC in Tampa Bay, Christie vowed that the Republican Romney/Ryan ticket would herald in "a second American century" well-defined by leaders prepared to tackle the challenging issues.

But the challenging issue of the fiscal cliff remains unresolved. While political rhetoric can bring a crowd to its feet, U.S. taxpayers still want to know what they're in for.

Nervous Business Owners Prep for Fiscal Cliff 2013

Businesses have lost hope of resolution and had to start preparing for the fiscal cliff in case nothing gets solved before the New Year.

Scores of companies have implemented hiring freezes, curtailed production and squashed expansion projects in anticipation.

Meanwhile, consumers have reined in spending as job security concerns heighten.

Republicans for years have pointed an accusing finger at President Obama, naming him and Democrats responsible for America's gloomy fiscal recovery and looming fiscal cliff. Adding more fuel to the fire was a fresh government report out Aug. 22 from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that revealed the U.S. economy grew at a lukewarm 1.7% annual rate in the second quarter of this year. The CBO has already warned that the fiscal cliff will thrust the country into a double-dip recession.

Democrats and Republicans both dug up elements in the CBO's report to pin on each other.

President Obama's camp claims the Republicans are dragging their feet. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the Republicans are clinging to the same failed economic policies that led us into recession.

"They're willing to hold the middle class hostage unless we also give massive new tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires - tax cuts we can't afford that would do nothing to strengthen the economy," Carney wrote.

The GOP maintains they have taken action that has been snubbed by the president.

Romney campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg said the CBO report was "another indictment of President Obama's economic policies that have resulted in overspending, increasing debt, and a growing financial burden on the next generation."

Fiscal Cliff Fight Drags Down Economy

As Washington battles over who is at fault for the dismal U.S. economy, nothing is getting better.

"The economy isn't growing. As the CBO makes clear, the President's push for higher taxes on small businesses and failure to prevent devastating defense cuts threaten our national security, jobs and economic growth," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote in a statement following the CBO report.

In a plea for a change in leadership, Cantor continued, "With four years of trillion dollar deficits and an economy threatened by the President's failed policies, Americans deserve real leadership that will create jobs, responsibly reduce our massive debt and return economic growth and prosperity."

The overriding issue in this year's presidential race is the economy. Polls show that voters give a slim edge to the candidate most likely to tackle it; here Romney has a narrow lead.

In Aug. 16-20 Associated Press- GfK Poll, 48% of registered voters said they trust Romney over President Obama (44%) when it comes to economic issues. Romney running mate Paul Ryan has also received high marks from business owners.

Decision day for Election 2012 is just two months away. With the RNC wrapped up and the Democratic National Convention on tap for next week, the race has moved into full gear as the fiscal cliff moves frighteningly closer.

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