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Economists’ advice for Obama: Avoid ‘fiscal cliff’

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"I assume that abolishing Congress is not an option. ... Job 1 would be the passage of a long-term Simpson-Bowles-type program."

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— Joel Naroff, president, Naroff Economic Advisors.

"Repeal the (Obama health care law). ... The Act has raised policy uncertainty in the economy and has companies already working on maneuvers to avoid having to provide health insurance - limiting the number of employees and/or reducing hours below full time. Thus the Act will slow job creation and worsen an already disheartening underemployment problem."

— Sean Snaith, economics professor, University of Central Florida.

"Bulldoze the fiscal cliff down to a manageable size. Make the current income tax rate permanent for all rates 33 percent or lower and raise the top tax rate to 38 percent for 2013. Increase capital gains and the maximum dividend tax rate to 20 percent for 2013. ... Cut $50 billion in spending in 2013.

— Stuart Hoffman, chief economist, PNC Financial.

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"Immediately negotiate a grand bargain with Congress that scales back the fiscal cliff, increases the Treasury debt ceiling and lays out a credible deficit reduction plan resulting in a falling debt-to-GDP ratio by the end of the decade. Such a deal would buoy confidence, jump-starting stronger investment and hiring. ... The only missing ingredient for a stronger economy is clarity on how we will address our fiscal problems."

— Mark Zandi, chief economist, Moody’s Analytics.

"I would do everything in my power to extend the Bush tax cuts for the foreseeable future. The payroll tax will be going back to 6.2 percent in January. This alone will pull more than $120 billion out of disposable income and depress consumer spending. The Medicare tax is going up ... and it will be imposed on wages and salaries and investment income. To let the Bush tax cuts expire in this environment would threaten the fragile recovery and possibly push the economy into another recession."

— Albert Niemi, Dean of Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University.

"I’d cut tax rates and get rid of deductions."

— William Dunkelberg, chief economist, National Federation of Independent Business.

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