Lois Frankel, who becomes South Florida’s newest member of Congress next week, said Thursday it’s difficult to see how the so-called fiscal cliff of higher taxes and dramatic federal spending reductions on Jan. 1 will be resolved.
“It’s not a good sign that the House has not been called back yet,” Frankel said in a telephone interview. “If I can guess anything, I think what will happen will be a punt.”
Here’s the resolution Frankel would like to see:
“What should be done is we should not allow the taxes to be raised on anyone who make under $250,000 a year. We should moderate the severe cuts that are required by the sequestration. And I think many economists say that the severe cuts would take us right back into a recession. I still think our focus has to be on jobs and long-term debt reduction yes, but right now, short-term I agree with the president, I agree that we need to continue the tax breaks for the middle class and we need to invest in those parts of the economy that are going to make sure we are robust in the future.”
Those areas are things like education, clean energy and infrastructure.
Frankel said failure to act includes many provisions that will affect many Americans such as reduced payments to doctors who care for Medicare patients and reductions in unemployment benefits. “There’s certain things that can very quickly affect some people that need to be fixed,” she said.
Other elements, such as the increase in unemployment that economists from the left and right say would come from the drastic spending reductions won’t happen immediately on Jan. 2, she said. And people won’t immediately start paying higher taxes.
“But if Congress does not make a fix there’s going to be a lot more unemployment a few months from now. And there’s going to be a stock market drop. There’s going to be some potential dire consequences if this thing is not fixed,” she said.
Frankel, a former Florida House Democratic leader and former mayor of West Palm Beach, is sworn in as the new member of Congress for the Broward-Palm Beach county 22nd District on Jan. 3.