More than 2 million long-term jobless would receive their final unemployment benefit check within days. Millions of taxpayers would be unable to file their returns early, resulting in delayed refunds. Taxes would rise immediately on workers across the board. And although some of those increases may eventually be reversed, the first paychecks of the year would be smaller until any legislative fixes kick in.
Even if the crisis is resolved quickly after the new year as pressure mounts on President Obama and lawmakers, it poses a short-term administrative nightmare for businesses. And it would be a financial blow to millions of people struggling to make ends meet in the aftermath of the Great Recession.