Fiscal cliff

The phrase ‘fiscal cliff’ was coined to capture the large and predicted reduction in the US budget deficit expected as specific laws kicked into effect from 2013.

In combination, these laws would put a big squeeze on the US economy as the combined impact was to increase taxes (in some cases by ending existing tax breaks originally designed to stimulate the economy) and also reduce state expenditure.

Critics worried that this ‘double whammy’ would send the US economy spiralling back into deep recession.

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30 March 1867: Russia sells Alaska to the United States of America

With the American Civil War out of the way, US Secretary of State William Seward agreed on a deal to buy Alaska from Russia, on this day in 1867.