Even though the next U.S. president will not take office until late January, the outcome of next week’s election will have a monumental effect on how Congress deals with budgetary, financial, and taxation issues during its lame duck session.
Furthermore, the winner of the presidential election might not be known the morning after Election Day, particularly if initial tallies are so tight that absentee and military ballots could be deciding factors in swing states. The same could hold true for the U.S. Senate elections as well.
If Barack Obama wins, lawmakers and the president could strike a “grand deal” that would prevent the nation from falling over the ever-closer so-called fiscal cliff. Such a deal would require compromise such as, perhaps, allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire. Major business groups and corporations are expected to attempt to offer Republicans some political cover by agreeing to some “revenue measures” in exchange for budget cuts.
If Mitt Romney wins, Congress would likely push off the most difficult financial decisions until after the inauguration and likely making next year a whole year of tax reform, Washington insiders say.
The Tax Relief Coalition released a letter Oct. 31 that says while recent CEOs' actions on the fiscal cliff should be applauded, they don't have the right answer to fix the problem. The group says that tax reform must address the corporate and individual tax code. They acknowledge "the efforts of Bowles-Simpson to establish a framework for substantive entitlement and tax reform,” but because of the significant imbalance in entitlement programs, the group says, “we also believe that any serious reform must include significantly more in spending reductions than in revenue."