Should you worry about fiscal cliff?

FSCJ economist looks at what it all means to average American

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Like many Americans, Dan Wohlgemuth isn't sure what will happen if the United States walks over the fiscal cliff.

"Overall, worried. Individually, not sure how this will impact me," he said.

But is it something the average person needs to worry about?

Florida State College at Jacksonville economist Roman Cech says there are all types of misinformation about the cliff.

"Supposedly once we go over the cliff, we suffer some type of deficit and debt crisis and all hell breaks loose, which is certainly just the opposite of what the fiscal cliff is all about," Cech said.

The idea behind the cliff was to take care of the county's huge deficit from government spending and borrowing. Cech said that was a good thing, but doing this so fast at one time is not so good.

"In other words, we need to gradually over time solve our tax situation, solve our government spending situation, but not do it in one huge lump sum at the beginning of 2013 because that can come back to bite us," Cech said.

To avoid the bite, some are making changes now, collecting bonuses or dividends this tax year instead of next.

But Cech says for individual investors, use common sense.

"While there is definitely a risk of slow down in economic performance, I don't feel it warrants changing an overall investment strategy for an individual investor who is in it for the long haul," he said.

For those who don't invest, they can expect possibly higher taxes, which means a smaller paycheck.

"We just don't know what is going to happen," Cech said. "There is a lot of uncertainty."

Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., said everyone needs to have "shared sacrifice" during this time.

"We did not get into this overnight and we are not going to get out of this overnight," Brown said. "We need to grow the economy, and that is what it's all about."

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