Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. (right), shown at a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is arguing for raising taxes on the wealthy as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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Nov. 17: A sign in a Staten Island storefront tells a lot. It was still closed because of the damage done by Superstorm Sandy in late October. Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

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House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday after private talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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A screen grab from an ad by the Defend My Dividend campaign, which is funded by utilities and other companies. They don't support a proposed increase in taxes from investment income. YouTube hide caption

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Better than expected: Economic growth was higher in the third quarter than first thought. Here, a worker at a Ford plant in Michigan plugs a batter into a Ford C-MAX plug-in hybrid vehicle. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Shoppers at a Target store in Westbury, N.Y., last week. Consumer spending drives the economy. And the holiday shopping season is crucial for retailers. Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov