30 July 2013 Last updated at 00:58

Who first called it a 'fiscal cliff'?Sign for cliff

The phrase is now part of the American lexicon, to describe a so-called economic catastrophe looming when tax cuts expire and spending cuts kick in. But where did the term come from and is it a good metaphor?


Expert Views

  • Paul MasonPaul Mason

    The economics editor of Newsnight gives his take on the economic turmoil


  • Gavin HewittGavin Hewitt

    Views and analysis from the BBC's europe editor


Crisis jargon buster
Use the dropdown for easy-to-understand explanations of key financial terms:
AAA-rating
The best credit rating that can be given to a borrower's debts, indicating that the risk of borrowing defaulting is miniscule.

Features & Analysis

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.