No one disputes the federal deficit has to be cut. The argument is when. And most economists say not now.
Raising taxes, cutting spending, or both would threaten an already anemic recovery, pushing unemployment higher, or worse, economists said. The debate underway in Washington on how to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff echoes arguments made throughout the presidential campaign over what to do about the mounting deficit as the nation emerges from the worst recession since the Great Depression. And now President Obama and Congress will try once again to negotiate a plan that will moderate spending cuts and extend some or all of the Bush-era tax cuts expiring at the end of the year.