Going off a cliff is bad enough, but the U.S. economy is poised to do it with a $600 billion weight strapped on. What might the gruesome scene look like? Take-home pay will go down, taxes on investments and income will go up. Extensions to unemployment benefits will end, leaving many of the roughly 8 percent without a job scrambling in 2013. Military spending will also be pared back which means contractors will have to reduce their work force. Basically, going over the fiscal cliff, the U.S. economy will be a mangled mess of recession.

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