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Fiscal Cliff: Both Sides Optimistic, But Still No Real Answers

Over the weekend, both Republicans and Democrats voiced confidence that the two opposing sides could strike a deal and avert falling off the fiscal cliff.

However, details on how policymakers will do so remain unclear.

Key sticking points that have kept the two parties at odds is that Democrats widely favor increasing taxes on wealthy Americans, while Republicans maintain that the answer to the bulging fiscal deficit is to slash federal spending.

With just weeks until the cutoff date, it appears each side is ready to make some concessions.

Tennessee's GOP Sen. Bob Corker acknowledged Sunday on Fox News that the nation's wealthiest should shell out more in taxes. But, he added, the increases should come from closing loopholes instead of boosting tax rates. Corker added that cuts to entitlement spending would also need to be considered for Republicans to approve any pact.

"I'm optimistic on a deal," the Senator said. He went on to say he thought a "basis for the deal" was in place.

Corker continued, "I think finally, Democrats are willing to accept-and I don't mean this pejoratively, but I think they know that Republicans really are willing to put revenues on the table if we can do it in a pro-growth way, and there is a way of doing that."

In addition, David Axelrod, a senior adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" he believed the Republican comments regarding the fiscal cliff are "encouraging."

The Fiscal Cliff Fight

GOP House Speaker John Boehner has vehemently opposed any tax rate increases, but stresses he is willing to consider changes to the tax code.

That proclamation came on the heels of President Obama's mandate that tax rates on incomes greater than $250,000 be allowed.

Like it or not, the two will have to meet somewhere in the middle.

As negotiations come down to the wire, President Obama is scrambling to gain outside support for his stance that high-income individuals peel off more than their current share for taxes.

The newly re-elected president will engage in separate meetings with labor and business leaders at the White House in the week ahead, days before the crucial Nov. 16 meeting with Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.


President Obama meets with labor leaders on Tuesday, and business leaders on Nov. 14, a White House official who asked to remain nameless told Bloomberg News.

The president will also field questions from reporters Wednesday, in his first news conference since June.

Fiscal Cliff: What's at Stake

Falling off the cliff will unquestionably thrust the already struggling U.S. economy back into a recession in 2013.

America's economic growth, unhealthy unemployment level and housing market recovery all depend on forgoing the looming tax increases and across the board spending cuts.

And even if Democrats and Republicans concede so that a compromise is reached and we don't go over the cliff, it will only be a temporary solution.

There is no quick fix to American's mushrooming deficit. A fiscal cliff compromise will certainly have the masses breathing a sigh of relief, but in the scheme of things, it's just a Band-Aid on a bleeding wound.

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