Metro companies weary of fiscal cliff

by: Jim Strickland Updated:

ATLANTA —

At Truss Systems in the Walton County town of Oxford, it's been a pretty solid six months. 

"Our workload right now is as good as it's been in the last several years, so I don't see that stopping tomorrow or next week," company president Richard Brown told Channel 2’s Jim Strickland.

But Brown fears there could be a ripple effect if Washington can’t avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

"We're not going to feel the effects that day, but going on through the year it could have a detrimental effect to us."

The fiscal cliff is code for a combination of $500 billion in tax hikes and $200 billion in spending cuts. These will automatically take effect Jan. 1 unless the Republican-controlled House and President Barack Obama can strike a deal to avoid them. The fear is doing nothing -- and even doing something -- could lead to recession.

"Small deal: 70-percent chance of recession.  Larger deal: 20- to 30-percent chance of recession in the first half (of 2013)," predicted Wes Moss of WSB Radio's Money Matters program.

Moss said capital spending on things like buildings that need Brown's trusses is already suffering as businesses await the outcome of the debate.

"Businesses have to plan three, six, eight months out and that's where we see this economic softness already."

Brown says Washington has done a lousy job of considering the stakes, or even explaining them.

"Do you think these guys in Washington are listening to little guys like you?" asked Strickland.

"No.  Was that too quick an answer?" Brown replied.