Though the dust from the election has barely settled — the nation has already moved on. Consuming our attention now is the budget crisis du jour. The “fiscal cliff,” as we’ve come to call it, amounts to a $700 billion combination of expiring Bush tax cuts and congressionally mandated spending cuts that could, if fully enacted, tip the economy back into recession. It’s the latest in a series of budget fiascos that are occurring with growing regularity. We narrowly averted a total government shutdown in May 2011. Four months later political hostilities resumed over raising the debt ceiling. This follows a decade in which Congress enacted more than 75 “continuing resolutions” (stop-gap budget extensions) because it couldn’t agree on a budget.
Bilmes, Linda J. "Three Ways To Avoid Future ‘Fiscal Cliffs’." WBUR, November 26, 2012.