With $3 billion in federal money flowing to the Quad-Cities every year, Washington, D.C.’s reach here is significant. Now, the federal government is poised to grab back some of that money.

There are only a few weeks left for Congress and the White House to strike a deal before automatic spending cuts and tax increases go into effect — an event dubbed the “fiscal cliff.”

Much of the money that lands in the Quad-Cities is off limits, such as Social Security, Medicare and veterans benefits, Pell grants, Medicaid, children’s health insurance and federal aid to highways. But a lot of programs are exposed, too: education, human services and defense, to name a few.

Add to that, looming tax increases. Today, Quad-City Times reporter Ed Tibbetts examines several areas to gauge the potential local impact. Much is still unknown, and many think the image of a cliff is too stark. It’s more like a fiscal slope, they say, with the impact to be felt gradually.

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Whatever the case, everybody has a stake.