Here’s a multiple choice question for you:
Q: What is Fiscal Cliff?
a) The site of the World High Diving Federation competition in Mazatlan, Mexico
b) F. W. Cliff’s given name, first chairman of the Federal Reserve Board
c) A rock band made up of IRS agents laid off en masse for failure to meet their revenue quotas
d) A series of major policy changes that will happen automatically at the end of this year if the U.S. Congress does nothing
With so much attention on the recent London 2012 Olympics, you may be leaning toward answer a). Personally, I cannot imagine diving into water from any height, let alone from 20 meters, and starting out upside down and backwards. Than again, with the IRS so newsworthy, stranger things than c) could happen.
The correct answer, however, is actually d): A gathering storm made up of tax breaks expiring, automatic spending cuts beginning, the debt ceiling rising, and millions of taxpayers getting hit for the first time with something called the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
One of these components is the payroll tax cut, which will automatically expire in December 2012. Since payroll taxes are deducted from wages every week, we will feel the effect immediately. We’ll experience higher withholding from our paychecks to cover this tax, if that cut is not extended or made permanent. Income tax rate increases only affect income starting in 2013, but if employers adjust withholding, the effects could come sooner.
If nothing happens to break this up, this fiscal cliff may plunge the country back into a recession.
The simplest way to prevent the fiscal cliff is to prevent its components from taking effect. But few want to do this. This would involve extending the Bush-era tax cuts again, extending payroll tax cuts that were supposed to be temporary, and making the AMT temporary “patch” permanent.
Dwelling on this drives me crazy because there is nothing I, or anyone but congress, can do about it. Just this morning I awoke to a fire-breathing dragon in my room with its three heads of worry, fear and anxiety. I wanted to pull the covers up over my head but needed to face that monster. While in the past I would try to wrestle my dragons throughout the day, I have adopted a new morning routine suggested by blogger Michael Hyatt (MichaelHyatt.com) to slay them before breakfast:
1. Read the Bible. I find comfort, resolve and personal power by reading scripture. “Fear not, for I am with you,” and “I will supply all your needs,” give me comfort, strength and power in the face of fear.
2. Exercise. Any kind of movement or exercise helps me manage stress. It is like plunging a sword into the heart of anxiety. Even a walk around the block is enough to change my perspective.
3. Listen to books. While I don’t have time to read fiction, small snippets from selected motivational books and inspiring biographies are the weapon I use to change my thoughts. I use Audible.com and Amazon’s Kindle Reader to download books to my phone and computer. Learning how others overcome challenges in their lives inspires me, filling me with hope, peace and joy, regardless of what’s going on in the world.
Question: Do you have a morning routine to slay your worry-fear-anxiety dragon? Discuss in the comments here.
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