Hoosiers unsure about fiscal cliff deal, hope for future spending cuts

Citizens skeptical about short-term fix

INDIANAPOLIS - The nation is no longer staring over the edge of a fiscal cliff, but reaction to the last-minute deal is mixed.

University of Indianapolis economist Matt Will said the fiscal cliff deal is no deal at all.

"It's kind of like a person with gangrene in their foot.  If we fell off the fiscal cliff, we were going to cut it off, and we would have lived," Will said. "Unfortunately, we're not. So the disease is going to get worse and worse and worse. The deficit will grow, and, you know, we're going to have to deal with this sooner or later. And the more we put it off, the worse it's going to be, the pain."

The stock market appears to like the deal, jumping more than 300 points, but Will discounts that.

"Well, the stock market likes short-term fixes. And this is an extremely short-term fix, two to three months," he said.

The deal also restores some of the extended unemployment benefits that had lapsed. 

Labor likes that, but business says the deal contains nothing that will encourage companies to expand and hire people. 

Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar said it averts a catastrophe, but that's about it.

"Now we have bought some time to take a more thoughtful and thorough approach," Brinegar said. "But Congress and the President have to be willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work."

Brinegar said that means finally tackling the big-ticket items like Social Security and Medicare.

Brinegar says the deal won't encourage his members to expand and hire people, because it does nothing to curb what they feel is the real cause of the problem -- too much government spending.

"They've made a small dent in the problem," Brinegar said. "But by no means should they be celebrating or patting themselves on the back, because they haven't come anywhere close to addressing the underlying fundamental problem. That got postponed."

Hoosiers seemed skeptical that anything had really been accomplished with the deal, especially since there was no move to cut spending.

"The deficit isn't going to change if you add taxes, I believe," one Hoosier said.

"There's going to be more coming back through, I'm sure. I mean, nobody's going to be satisfied," said another Indiana resident.

"I think the government spends too much money. They need to cut back on that, for sure. I don't like it," added another Hoosier.

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