WASHINGTON — Rich and poor, young and old alike would be affected by the tentative deal to ease or avoid the effects of the fiscal cliff.
Everyone would pay higher taxes, including the working poor but especially the wealthy. More than 98 percent of taxpayers would escape more sweeping tax increases.
The unemployed would get an extension of jobless benefits. Doctors would avoid a planned cut in Medicare payments, one that might have led many to stop taking those patients. Heirs of big estates would pay more, but not as much as feared. Anyone who will get Social Security will continue to get annual increases without the restraint of a new, less generous cost-of-living formula. More than 31 million eluded the threat of being hit by the Alternative Minimum Tax.
The deal still must be approved by Congress, which missed a Monday night deadline to pass an alternative to many expiring tax cuts but which could presumably make its action retroactive. The House of Representatives planned to return to session Tuesday; the Senate sometime after that. Other deadlines lay ahead, with jobless benefits expiring Wednesday and $109 billion in doomsday budget cuts not scheduled to start going into effect until Wednesday.
Some details remained to be worked out Monday evening, particularly whether to delay the scheduled start of the spending cuts. But the rest of the deal offered a look at how it would impact Americans
The broadest effect was the apparent decision not to extend a temporary cut in the payroll tax that finances Social Security. As a result, every working American will see an immediate tax increase, with the rate going from 4.2 percent of their pay to 6.2 percent. The tax is taken out of roughly the first $102,000 in income.