WASHINGTON (AP) — Sure the rich may have to pay more in taxes. But a fiscal cliff budget deal could mean pain for nearly everyone else, too: higher airline ticket prices, for example, an end to Saturday mail delivery, fewer food stamps and lower farm subsidies.
Each of those changes would make some powerful constituency angry. And even if approved, they would be only a drop in the bucket toward reducing future deficits by trillions of dollars.
Cutting farm subsidies and food stamps also is being eyed as an alternative to the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts in January. Members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees are struggling to reach a deal on comprehensive farm bill before the end of the year. Even if they do, the potential 10-year saving are not that great: between $23 billion and $35 billion, including $4 billion to $16 billion in food stamp cuts.
Efforts to stem losses by the Postal Service by allowing it to cut Saturday delivery and close facilities seem like even more of a long shot, even though the administration proposed last year to claim $16 billion through such postal changes. A Senate-passed bill doesn't generate that much savings.
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