Construction workers build a home in Palo Alto, Calif. A real turnaround seemed to take hold in the housing sector in 2012 after years of fits and starts. Paul Sakuma/AP hide caption

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Judy Smith, of Dalton, Ga., looks over paperwork as she files for unemployment benefits in August after being laid off from a catering job. More than 2 million people who get extended benefits may lose them if Congress doesn't act soon. David Goldman/AP hide caption

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Shoppers line up in a Best Buy store in Rockville, Md., during a Black Friday sale. Thanksgiving weekend sales jumped nearly 13 percent from last year, the National Retail Federation says. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Customers line up at an H&R Block office in Nashville, Tenn., on April 17, the deadline for filing 2011 federal income taxes. Mark Humphrey/AP hide caption

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President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner at the White House in July 2011. They are scheduled to meet at the White House again next week to discuss the looming fiscal cliff. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky (left) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada during their recent interview with CBS News' 60 Minutes. CBSNews.com hide caption

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If Congress fails to address the alternative minimum tax, millions of households could see their federal 2012 tax bills jump. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Workers clean up debris left by Superstorm Sandy in Long Beach Island, N.J., on Wednesday. The storm may lead to layoffs as business losses mount, but also could result in hiring related to rebuilding. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

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A truck drives through a flooded street caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York City's Financial District on Tuesday. Andrew Burton/Getty Images hide caption

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Waves crash over a road as Hurricane Sandy comes up the coast Monday in Winthrop, Mass. Economists are predicting the storm will cost tens of billions of dollars. Darren McCollester/Getty Images hide caption

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About 34 million taxpayers take the mortgage interest deduction, for a typical savings of approximately $600 a year. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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A Ford Focus on the assembly line in Wayne, Mich. "We have a lot going for us; we've got our problems, but others have problems that are as bad or worse," says Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

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