The fiscal cliff = the austerity crisis

November 13, 2012

On Monday, I asked for your help in renaming the fiscal cliff. Around Wonkblog, we were leaning towards "austerity crisis," which Suzy Khimm had coined, but it's always worth getting some outside help on these things.


(Behrouz Mehri - AFP/Getty Images)

We literally got hundreds of nominees. A few of my favorites:

- "Policy Meltdown"

- "What would really happen if we really cared about deficit reduction, and why we really don't."

-  "Catch 2012"

- "Fiscal staircase"

- "The Big Lebowski, cause everything is screwed up and is a big charade."

- "Call My Bluff Bluff"

- "Skyfall"

Many more here, of course. In the end, Wonkblog is going to go with "austerity crisis," because it goes the furthest toward clearly explaining the problem in two words.

That problem, of course, is so much austerity coming so quickly -- $600 billion in 2013, or four percent of GDP -- that the economy will tip into recession. Because we don't how financial markets will react, we can't say whether the speed with which this will happen makes it more like a "cliff" or a "staircase" or a "slope," but we can say that, if it isn't resolved pretty quickly, it'll be a crisis.

So "austerity crisis" it is. Tell your friends.

 

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Ezra Klein | November 13, 2012