St. Petersburg, Florida -- When Congress gets back to what they consider "work" this coming Tuesday, two scary words are what they'll be talking about: Fiscal Cliff.
Stay with me here.
I'll explain, quickly and clearly, why this fiscal cliff can seriously impact your life.
First is what happens right after January 1st if Congress doesn't do something to stop it:
Government spending will start dropping -- eventually by $100 billion.
Less government spending means fewer jobs out there for people to get. It's expected at least a million jobs nationwide would dry up.
At the same time, taxes for just about everyone will climb.
The average household -- that's you -- would pay $3,500 a year more in taxes.
Nationwide, that's $500 billion that people won't be spending in the economy.
Now as the U.S. debt clock continues to tick upward, some folks argue that cutting spending and paying some more in taxes would be good for America's bottom line.
But a lot of economists say our economy is too soft right now to withstand this.
Push the economy a little with some cuts, and a little more with tax increases, and boom --- we're back in a recession.
Remember life in 2008?
Plenty of smart people say we could be heading back there if Congress doesn't come up with a compromise to avoid this Fiscal Cliff.
Ask the head of Goldman Sachs, which was Wall Street's most successful investment bank last year.
"Look, if we go over the fiscal cliff it'll be very bad," CEO Lloyd Blankfein said. "Hugely negative for the stock market, which is... a source of people's wealth, people will feel poorer."
"If we go over for a short period of time and adjust it, we can repair some of those things. But what you won't repair is people's attitudes towards the United States as a responsible debtor."
So, if you care, don't just watch what Congress does over the next month or so -- let them know what you think by sending them a message or calling them.
Use this Congress search link to search for the person who represents you in the U.S. House of Representatives. After you search, there's an email icon right next to their picture.
Two people represent Florida in the U.S. Senate. Here is the contact page for Sen. Bill Nelson and the contact page for Sen. Marco Rubio.
You can depend on 10 News to also help you keep the people in power accountable.
Grayson Kamm, 10 News