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Christian Science Monitor: Presidential Debates: Why $600 Billion 'Fiscal Cliff' Was Barely Mentioned

Author: David Grant
October 23, 2012

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The "fiscal cliff" facing the country received no mention during the four debates between presidential and vice presidential contenders for the 2012 election.

The third and final presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday night produced one word that neither candidate had uttered in any of their previous two prime-time tilts: sequester.

The Washington Post reports President Obama plans to veto any bill to head off automatic tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year, unless Congressional Republicans agree to raise tax rates for families making more than $250,000 a year.

The sequester – $109 billion in automatic spending cuts scheduled for Jan. 1 – is only one part of the "fiscal cliff," a package encompassing more than $600 billion in higher taxes and lower government spending that lands on America's doorstep in the new year.

Yet the larger "fiscal cliff" issue didn't get a mention by the presidential contenders or their vice presidential running mates in any of the four debates between the two sides.

"The silence from both presidential campaigns and the Congress of the United States has been thunderous on this question," says William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "Nobody wants to talk about it because all of the choices are so difficult."

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