Fiscal Cliff

Posted: 2012-12-31 13:15   |  More posts about america politics

It's almost the new year, which means that we're at the precipice of the so-called "Fiscal Cliff". A cliff that somehow manages to loom while simultaneously threatening to drag us under.

The first time I heard the phrase fiscal cliff was the morning after the 2012 American election, when it was already clear that Obama would win. All of a sudden, it was everywhere. However, according to Wikipedia:

In late February 2012, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, popularized the term "fiscal cliff" for the impending 2012 fiscal crisis.

Some analysts have argued that fiscal slope or fiscal hill would be more appropriate terminology because while the cumulative economic effect over all of 2013 would be substantial, it would not be felt immediately but rather gradually as the weeks and months went by.

With this in mind, here is a google trends graph of searches for "fiscal cliff" from February to today:

Doesn't look like there's much movement until after October. Analysing just October to the present day, we get the following graph:

Just as I'd thought - the first spike occurs on November 7th: the morning of Obama's re-election.

I am not suggesting anything conspiratorial, but I do find it curious that talk of such an apocalyptic term as the fiscal cliff would only emerge directly after the election. Why not in February? Why not during the painfully long election campaign when journalists would have been happy to have had something new to write about?

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