A Morning Edition segment with a CEO working with the Peter Peterson funded group, the Campaign to Fix the Debt, implied that the economy would go into a recession if a deal is not reached by January 1. There is no economic forecast that shows the economy going into a recession if a deal is not reached by January 1.
The forecasts showing the economy going into a recession assume that there is never a deal reached so people are paying higher taxes all year, emergency unemployment benefits are not extended at all, and a lower rate of spending is in effect throughout the year. None of this is implied by the failure to reach a deal by January 1, 2013. Virtually all political analysts agree that if a deal is not reached by the beginning of the year then it will be reached shortly afterwards.
This means that NPR is frightening its listeners with a scenario of its own invention. It would also be helpful if NPR used more neutral language instead of the "fiscal cliff" terminology used by those trying to create a sense of crisis around the budget standoff.