December 30, 2012
The phrase isn't new. Here's how it traveled from speculation about a western movie in 1966 to become shorthand for Washington's current budget crisis. posted Dec 29, 2012 6:51pm EST
Richard Spong, a writer for Editorial Research Reports, the periodical now known as CQ Researcher, wrote a piece headlined "The Fiscal Cliff-Hanger" on June 26, 1967. The article, discussing funds to be appropriated by Congress at the close of the fiscal year, appeared in the Ohio daily, the Youngstown Vindicator. Whether Spong or the Vindicator penned the fateful headline remains unknown.
"If Congress were to actually adopt the plan before us, it would plunge the country off a fiscal cliff and threaten the education of our children, the financial security of our seniors, the stability of our economy, and the ultimate strength of our nation."
"The fact is, he's taking us right over the cliff, right over the fiscal cliff," said Conrad of President Bush.
"taking this country right over the fiscal cliff."
And in February of 2004, Conrad warned then-director of the Office of Management and Budget, Joshua Bolten, that "the overall budget is increasing, spending is increasing, and we've got record deficits now," said the Senator.
"Look, we agree on the problem here, and the problem is [that] health inflation is driving us off a fiscal cliff. Mr. President, you said health care reform is budget reform. You're right. We agree with that," said Ryan, at the Feb. 25 meeting.
"We are walking off a fiscal cliff in this country. We have a debt that is exploding."
Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, was the first to use the term "fiscal cliff" to characterize the spending cuts and tax increases that will go into place if Congress does not reach a deal by the end of this year.
"You also have to protect the recovery in the near-term," Bernanke said, testifying before the House Committee on Financial Services on Feb. 23, 2012.
"There's gonna be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases. I hope that Congress will look at that and figure out ways to achieve the same long-run fiscal improvement without having it happen all at one date."