Trying to figure out who has the upper hand in negotiations between President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans is at the heart of our political discourse right now.
But if no deal is reached at all, what would that look like to the average American?
Kenneth Klooster, a financial planner with Edward Jones says, "We're just now on the cusp of a recovery - if we were to go over this fiscal cliff, what it has the potential to do is drive us right back into a recession."
The focus in Washington right now is how to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, a combination of budget cuts and tax increases experts believe would harm the U.S. economy.
Higher income tax rates are the sticking point, but the Bush tax cuts that would expire affected middle and working class households as well, and coupled with the 2% reduction in the payroll tax that would expire from the stimulus law, the average worker would see a 5% tax hike.
Klooster says, "And we all became accustomed to that. But now at the end of the year, if we go over the fiscal cliff, all of a sudden that extra spending money that we've had in our pockets is going to be gone. It will affect everyone."
The current fiscal cliff is actually the offspring of the last fiscal cliff,.
A deal in 2011 to raise the debt sealing included these harsh tax hikes and spending cuts to force the federal government to get their act together.
And that lack of success has some wondering if we should just take the plunge in order to learn our lesson.
Klooster says, "There's been talk that maybe the best thing for us is to go off this fiscal cliff and force government to take charge and not just continue to kick the can down the road year after year after year."