By Rick Newman, U.S. News & World Report
Washington hasn't sent you a parachute, yet it's pushing the nation off the fiscal cliff anyway. So it's time for ordinary people to figure out how the shenanigans in Washington will affect them.
Democrats and Republicans seem unable to make any kind of deal to prevent a huge set of tax hike and spending cuts from going into effect at the start of 2013. The media tends to refer to the cliff as if it's one huge measure that will instantly cause a recession if Congress does nothing to stop it. But the cliff really involves several different tax and spending policies that will affect taxpayers in many different ways, not all of them right off the bat.
So here's how the major aspects of the fiscal cliff are likely to affect ordinary people, assuming they go into effect beginning January 1, 2103