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Fiscally, it's kind of scary, but it really isn't a cliff page 2
Biz sense column

 Credit (or blame) Ben Bernanke for coining the phrase 'fiscal cliff.'
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Date published: 12/9/2012

By Howard Owen


With the fiscal cliff, though, either side can blink whenever it wants. Every day after Jan. 1 makes it a little more dire, and the heat will really be on if the Dow drops 400 points on Jan. 2. But the parties involved can stop the bleeding at any time. It will take months for the impact of inaction to take full effect.

This is comforting--and worrisome. If both sides know that Jan. 1 really isn't the date on which Armageddon may happen, then the pressure to defy the odds and actually do something is diminished.

It's hard to know which is worse: Having our leaders take us right to (or over) the edge of the abyss or watching them continue to bluff and dawdle, knowing that the catastrophe is artificial and our demise can be treated as a downhill glide instead of a screaming free fall.

Business Editor Howard Owen writes this biweekly column on business and the economy. He can be reached at 540/374-5539 or howen@free lancestar.com.

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