With less than a week to go, lawmakers are scrambling to reach a deal and then further more, get it thru Congress. Now, it really seems like a long shot.

So what happens come January 1 and the nation is forced over 'the cliff'? Most importantly, how will you and I be affected?

Various federal tax cuts and breaks enacted under President George W. Bush expire as well as the payroll tax holiday enacted under President Obama. At the same time $1.2 trillion in federal spending cuts begin to kick in. Plus, federal jobless benefits expire for 2 million unemployed Americans.

All of this hitting the economy at the same time would likely cause severe consequences to find their way to you. Less take home pay, job cuts, stock market turmoil hitting your retirement fund and many other things could be felt. We all know it well, as we just got out of one of these situations.

If you are wondering about your take home pay, here's what would happen. According to the Tax Policy Center, going off the "cliff" would affect 88 percent of U.S. taxpayers, with their taxes rising by an average of $3,500 a year; taxes would jump $2,400 on average for families with incomes of $50,000 to $75,000.

And it's only common sense to say that with consumers getting less of their paychecks to spend, businesses and jobs would suffer. This has the potential to lead the U.S. into recession.