While many politicians and economists talk about the potential for another recession if the U.S. goes over the "fiscal cliff," few seem to recognize that the fiscal-cliff debate itself is already damaging the economy. This is shaping up to be a repeat of the 2011 debt ceiling debacle -- only worse. New Gallup economic data show:
- Small-business owners are pessimistic about the economy, with one in five expecting to reduce the size of their workforce over the next 12 months.
- Upper-income spending has declined sharply over the past two months.
- Payroll to Population fell below year-ago levels in November.