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Geithner Keeps Withholding Freeze as Weapon to Curb Cliff

The Obama administration has a way to blunt about half of the fiscal cliff’s economic fallout for 2013, even if Congress stays deadlocked: Freeze paycheck withholding levels.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has the authority to set withholding, whether or not tax rates increase. He has said Congress should act to extend current rates for most taxpayers. A freeze could keep $10 billion per pay period in taxpayers’ pockets and prevent a loss of 1.5 percent of monthly gross domestic product, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania.