The Fiscal Cliff: A Guide For Teens

A Fiscal Clif BarIf you have done anything other than sleep over the past week, then you’ve probably heard of the fiscal cliff. You can literally be brushing your teeth in the morning, and your toothpaste will start talking to you about it. Then, before you can reply, your faucet chimes in with its sanctimonious opinion, and before you know it the shampoo bottles have gotten into a brawl over it.

Or, at least that’s what happens to me. That might be a function of me spending more time brushing my teeth than sleeping this past week, though. (No, I don’t take 3 hours to meticulously scrub every incisor, I, like a majority of you reading this, am just sleep deprived).

Regardless, because the Fiscal Cliff has hijacked every editorial section, editorial cartoon, and editorial editor (it has them tied up in a room somewhere), it appears that it is either a very important political issue or that it has simply grown arms, legs, and an ability to hijack things.

As teens, we pride ourselves on knowing absolutely nothing about anything, so needless to say none of us have any idea why the TV keeps droning on about rock formations. As a blogger, therefore, it is my duty to break your ignorance and ensure that you become thoroughly misinformed about this issue. I present to you “The Fiscal Cliff: A Guide for Teens,” a guide completely devoid of biased partisan politics, biased bipartisan politics, and biased bipartisan bipolitics.

How it All Started

The Fiscal Cliff, and all geological formations, really have their roots where this country started: Plymouth Rock. Plymouth rock was where the Pilgrims landed and made the Mayflower compact, forever tying government legislation to rock formations.

Now, after about 400 years of history and 1,300,000 pieces of legislation per year, the federal government seems to have run out of rocks. Just kidding. We’ve got plenty of stones, pebbles, and boulders in the Federal Reserve for situations just like this.

No, the real problem is something called the Budget Control Act, passed at some point in the last 40 years. Essentially, it stated that unless we controlled our budget, we would not control our budget. Instead, the Act would have control. Personally, I think this is brilliant: handing our government’s legislature powers over to nonpartisan inanimate objects such as pieces of paper, binders full of paper, and warehouses full of paper would greatly increase our government’s efficiency.

How It Didn’t Get Fixed

Unfortunately, the Budget Control Act was set to take effect soon after the presidential elections. This meant that most politicians spent the two to four years before the November elections trying to get re-elected, and thus they didn’t have time to deal with the budget. On the bright side, at least this re-election frenzy gave us entertaining commercials for a few weeks.

Then, due to articles 1-5 of the Constitution, which state that, “…the aforementioned government shall enact hereto any legislation which respectively takes thee government under fourscore years to complete…” the budget negotiations simply aren’t complete yet.

Why It’s Called the Fiscal Cliff

The Budget Control Act created certain spending cuts that would take effect unless other action was taken. Sadly, rather than calling them “The Spending Cuts That You Won’t Stop Hearing About for the Entire Month of December,” Congress instead named it, “Sequestration.” This name came from the roots of the word: seq, as in sequel, meaning the thing that comes after; uest, as in bluest, meaning the most depressing; rat, as in the rodent, meaning despicable pests; and ion, as in chemistry, meaning science-y. In other words, sequestration means that a group of scientifically genetically modified rats, all depressed, will come after a failure to fix the budget, and just blindly chew up random papers until enough expenditures have been gnawed into oblivion.

This, of course, was a concept too difficult for the common man to understand, and too juicy for the circling comedian-vultures, so they nicknamed it the Fiscal Cliff.

Does it Matter?

Arguably, yes; based on the news coverage it has garnered, one could assume the Fiscal Cliff matters. Teens, though, have the benefit of ignorance on their side, and so we could probably also argue that it doesn’t. It’s not as if our country will suddenly be overrun by Canada. And if it is, then think about the plus side: our pharmaceuticals will be less expensive.”

The real issue, though, is at the heart of the matter: our government takes and and uses a lot of money. Therefore, I think the solution, in the long term, is to use Monopoly money to pay our governments debts. Frankly, I don’t know why these so-called “smart” political figures haven’t already come up with this solution. It’s probably because private investors have a monopoly on Wall Street and Boardwalk and the government doesn’t want to lose.

What You Can Say

Now let’s say you’re in class, or at a family gathering, and, since you’ll be voting in a few years, want to appear intelligent and politically active. The topic of the Fiscal Cliff arises in the conversation. What do you say? Well, here are some pretty solid talking points:

  • I think we should all get parachutes and just see who survives the jump.
  • It’s really a cliff-hanger, ha ha.
  • Well, if sequestration happens, lots of stuff will then be affected. Like the entitlements reformed and an increase tax.
  • Honestly, if they would just arm-wrestle it out already we could all go back to talking about the newest Twilight Movie.
  • So, nice weather, eh?

Overall, I’m sure that the Fiscal Cliff is very important, and shouldn’t be taken so lightly. But maybe we should look on the bright side: I bet the view from up on the cliff is beautiful.

The long gap between this post and the last post is due to the common teen affliction of sleep deprivation. It hopefully won’t happen again anytime soon. But if you really need to read a post, our archives are always available.

Of course, sleep is rarely an issue if we have a snow day. And if you have any questions about snow days, then you might check out, “Snow Day FAQ: Frosty Answers Common Misconceptions,” published in December of last year.

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  1. Thank you for explaining it. I watch the news a lot and just couldn’t catch on to what the Fiscal Cliff is. Now I have a way better idea.

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