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So, is this fiscal cliff thing really that serious? - abc27 WHTM

So, is this fiscal cliff thing really that serious?

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

The deadline is approaching in Washington for the dreaded, much-talked-about-of-late fiscal cliff and it's potentially devastating effect on the U.S. economy.

Congress has only a couple more weeks in session this year, so there is not much time for both sides to come to an agreement.

Is all the talk about the fiscal cliff just political posturing and/or news hype?

"No, it's a huge concern," said investment manager Peter LaBella of FMA Advisory Inc. "It's a huge concern because our debt is a huge concern."

Real estate agent Noreen Koeppel of Remax Realty in Camp Hill had similar sentiments.

"I deal with people every day who are concerned with what's going to happen tomorrow," she said.

What is the fiscal cliff? If Congress doesn't act by the end of the year, $650-billion in spending cuts and tax hikes go into effect in January. That will affect every American taxpayer.

"The Americans we just keep going forward and have faith in the next day," said Koeppel. "But we hope the House and Senate really start working together because that's where we need the help."

LaBella says he doesn't know if the problem will be solved by the end of the year, that it could possibly go on until January, February or March. If that happens he says it could push us back into recession.

"We'll probably lose 2-3 off of GDP in the short-term, until they solve it. And I think the stock market won't react well," he said.

Our Al Gnoza asked him if that would cause job losses. "Yes, of course job loss. If GDP goes down, people are going to lose their jobs."

LaBella says that if congress does reach a deal the stock market will rally. In the meantime, can Joe investor or Rita resident do anything to protect themselves?

"No. I think the normal person might have some cash on the sideline to look for opportunity but in a zero interest rate environment, walking away with your equity at this point is really a challenge."

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