Hours Away From the 'Fiscal Cliff' Deadline, New Yorkers Angry at Washington Politicians

Category: Markets / Finance / Dec 31, 2012 11:27AM EDT
People arriving for work at their jobs on Wall Street were expressing anger and frustration on Monday (December 31) at the lack of progress in Washington toward a solution to the 'fiscal cliff' crisis. In the early morning hours in front of the New York Stock Exchange, several people said the politicians need to put politics aside and work on a solution for the sake of the country. Negotiations continued between top lawmakers and the White House on how to head off the fiscal cliff -- $600 billion in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that kick in January 1. Economists say it could drag the economy in recession. "I think it's a shame. I don't think the politicians are coming together. I don't see compromise. Our government right now is broken to the extent of compromise," said a man named 'Tom', who said he worked for a firm on Wall Street. Tom added that he hopes the negotiations will come up with at least a temporary fix to bring the markets smoothly into the new year. "Hopefully they'll come up with a fixed gap that will get it extended until next year. If not, I think we need to do what we need to do post. We vote for who we believe is working for us, we vote those people that aren't doing out," he added. The Democrat-controlled Senate reconvenes later in the day, with only hours to find a legislative solution, most likely a stop-gap deal, that would also have to be passed by the Republican-majority House of Representatives. A Republican Senate leadership aide described discussions between Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden as "good talks," saying they lasted late into Sunday evening. "This is the season of good will peace towards men, and we have had anything but," said a frustrated Peggy Kreischer, who said she was a temporary worker on Wall Street. One unidentified New Yorker was more blunt, saying we need new leaders in Washington. "Fire and get some new people. Put some people in that can take care of the business you know what I am saying? Because we, banks, people in civil service have to do their job on a daily basis. These are the leaders of the country. How come they are not sticking up and do what they need to do on a timely basis?" Taxes were set to rise for many Americans this week unless U.S. lawmakers could cut a last-minute deal, an outcome that was possible but seemed unlikely. Inside the New York Stock Exchange, traders took a more measured look at the stalled talks. After falling slightly at the open, the markets stabilized and made small gains, edging higher in a choppy session. Despite recent declines over the stalemated budget talks, the S&P 500 is up about 11.5 percent for the year compared with a nearly flat performance in 2011. The Dow industrials are about 6 percent higher and the Nasdaq composite is up about 14 percent for 2012. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 7.45 points, or 0.06 percent, at 12,945.56. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 4.53 points, or 0.32 percent, at 1,406.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 17.63 points, or 0.60 percent, at 2,977.95.