Forget January: The 'Fiscal Cliff' Will Get Scary in February

If the fiscal cliff will have gradual effects, the "slope" could take months to hit the economy hard.

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Cliff, slope, or whatever other metaphor the event goes by, the consequences of these massive adjustments could easily be very painful. All of which points to what has been a widely accepted truth for months now: the sooner lawmakers can reach a deal, the better.

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  • Danielle Kurtzleben is a business and economics reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at dkurtzleben@usnews.com.