Toward the end of 2012, while the rest of the world was talking about the Mayan prophecy that speculated an apocalypse on Dec 21, 2012, the United States was dealing with a major financial and political problem that led to the popularity of the words fiscal cliff.
Online sources defined the fiscal cliff as the sharp decline in the U.S. budget deficit that could have occurred beginning in 2013 because of higher taxes and lower spending mandated by previously enacted laws. The resulting deficit or the amount by which government spending exceeds revenue was targeted to be cut by half in 2013.
However, the reduction could lead to a mild recession and unemployment rate of 9 per cent by the second half of 2013. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, passed on the eleventh hour, largely eliminated the fiscal cliff.
The act rescinded the automatic tax increases and spending cuts which should have taken effect on Jan 1, 2013, including 52 legislative extensions of expired or soon-to-expire laws that mostly benefit interest groups and specific companies.
The package, estimated at $64 billion translates into $325 for the 197 million individual taxpayers in the U.S.
Among the beneficiaries of the tax breaks are multinationals, retail and restaurant developers, venture capitalists, film and TV industry, motorsports companies, coal miners and the treasuries of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Island.
To help understand the concept of a fiscal cliff, meme and parody makers have produced the following creative ideas which expresses as well their sentiments about the matter.
For some, fiscal cliff explanations are plain gibberish
Many consider the fiscal cliff a negative thing caused by leadership failure
With the future generation paying for these mistakes
Others see it in dollars and cents
And a number see it as chasm that they will literally fall off from
Thus, this appropriate warning
Or an alternative plan.
Parody makers, not to be outdone by the meme makers, came up with a Christmas carol version of the fiscal cliff
A ballad version by The Doors
Set to the melody of Sister Christian
And Hitler's reaction.
If these memes and parodies only confused you more, maybe this explanation by U.S. President Barack Obama to fifth graders could provide some enlightenment.