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Are You Ready For the Fiscal Cliff? 8 Must-Reads

The fiscal cliff is looming, but there are things you can do to prepare. Here are a few noteworthy articles to peruse while Congress bickers.
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The fiscal cliff looms, and that can mean only one thing: The endless speculation endures while Harry Reid and John Boehner play legislative footsie under the congressional table.

At about 3 p.m. this afternoon, President Obama plans to meet with Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi at the White House to discuss his new budget package, which Bloomberg is already calling "scaled back." But while politicians do what they do best (or, rather, not do what they do best), here's a smattering of noteworthy fiscal cliff essays and bits--from both the left and the right, practical and theoretical--from the last few weeks.

Not Extending Tax Provisions Will Kill Job Creation. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a right-leaning small business lobby, is one of the leading crusaders for extending the Bush-era tax cuts and says Obama's plan will stymie small business job creaton. "His decision to increase taxes on all Americans who earn more than $250,000, small-business owners in particular, will impact businesses that are in the best position to create jobs," the organization said in a statement.

Tax Cuts for the Middle Class Help Small Business. "In the eyes of entrepreneurs, preserving the middle class tax cuts is crucial because of the role middle class Americans play in the success of our economy and small businesses," Small Business Majority founder and CEO John Arensmeyer said in a recent statement. "These cuts, along with a number of other tax provisions scheduled to lapse at the same time, put money into the pockets of middle class consumers."

Just Go Over the Clff Already. John Cassidy, the liberal-minded political wonk at The New Yorker has boldly declared his allegiance for Obama's budget plan. "In order to overcome Republican obstructionism, Obama must indeed be willing to go over the cliff, allowing the tax cuts to expire and the automatic spending cuts, which were agreed upon during the last go-around with the Republicans, in the summer of 2011, to go into effect," Cassidy wrote in November. 

What to Do If You're a Government Contractor. Inc. reporter April Joyner spoke with Adelle Pierce, CEO of AM Pierce & Associates, which provides engineering services to the military. Should the country enter a period of sequestration, businesses like Pierce's could be demolished. "If it happens, it will have some far-reaching consequences, because there's no rationale to how the cuts will be spread across programs. It's just an across-the-board cut to every single line item. There will be less work to go around for contractors."

Your Business's Fiscal Cliff Calculator. Ever wonder what your taxes would look like under a a fiscall cliff doomsday scenario? Inc.com's Jeremy Quittner took three examples--with adjusted gross incomes of $200,000, $500,000, and $1 million. "Small business owners must pay attention to the fiscal cliff, as the current administration may take the gamble and let us go over it, experts say," Quittner notes.

How to Use Crisis As a Way of Forcing Action. "Propagating the belief that we're at the eve of destruction and can avoid doomsday only by conscious action is a proven leadership tool," writes Samuel Bacharach, a professor of labor management at Cornell, on Inc.com. "Bringing a situation to a head has an acknowledged place in negotiation theory, with a distinguished place in foreign diplomacy." In other words, there are lessons to be learned from the fiscal cliff that you can apply to your leadership style. Bacharach lists out the six steps to apply this careful maneuver.

Feeling Insecure? You're Not Alone... A survey of about 1,500 CEOs showed that confidence among business owners in the most recent quarter has lagged significantly because of the impending fiscal cliff. About half of the CEOs surveys said they're taking the threat of a fiscal cliff "very seriously."

...But the Fiscal Cliff Shouldn't Be Your No. 1 Worry. Inc.com columnist and the CEO and founder of Laddering Works, a marketing and product strategy firm, Eric V. Holtzclaw, says fears about the fiscal cliff are overblown. He's got bigger issues to deal with at his business, like slow payment cycles. "Most of the press around small business concerns these days is about the fiscal cliff, and the health care law, and their potential effects on small business," he says. "But I--and most small business owners I know--frankly have much more pressing problems."

Last updated: Dec 28, 2012




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