The Fiscal Cliff Is in Your Hands

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As the election nears, the US economy is taking center stage. You may have noticed that every candidate seems to have the ability to take the same numbers and present them in such a way as to make the candidate from the other party look bad. Most candidates aren't economists, and they all seem to find ways to twist the numbers so things look good for their own platforms. But that's neither here nor there. The good news is that three-quarters of US corporate financial executives – the ones who actually work with the numbers – say economic conditions are looking up and 2013 might bring some interesting surprises.

On the down side, financial executives are most concerned with high unemployment numbers, which are expected to continue in 2013, the need for deficit reduction, which has been going in the wrong direction, and the fiscal cliff, which is in the hands of the members of Congress as they decide how to manage the expiring tax cuts, the impending tax increases relating to health care legislation, the alternative minimum tax, and the temporary payroll tax cuts. The good news, at least in relation to the fiscal cliff, is that the resolution of that particular issue is totally in the hands of the electorate. If you want tax cuts to expire, or if you want them to be extended, it's your call. Find out where the candidates stand and make your vote count.

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