For the sake of linguistic sanity, stop the ‘fiscal cliff’ metaphors

Fiscal cliff could last forever

The budget impasse in Washington has forced my wife into talking to the radio.

Day after day, she pleads with NPR. Day after day, NPR blathers on about the “fiscal cliff.”

“Enough with the fiscal cliff already,” she says. “Just stop it.”

I’m with her. We survived the Nostradamus-Mayan doomsday of 2012. We survived Donald Trump’s run for president. We survived “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” (Wait. Maybe that was Donald Trump’s run for president.) We even survived Y2K.

But will we survive — organ music please — the fiscal cliff?

As a journalist, I understand the appeal of “fiscal cliff.” It gets across a point succinctly. Budget stories are never easy to write, and “sequestration” isn’t a word that polite people use in daily conversation. Even so, the use of “fiscal cliff” has become little more than a drumbeat of fear and a stupefying stew of mixed metaphors. They were humorous at first. Now they’re just absurd.


Mixed metaphor, cliff and kick the can 001

No, wait. The cliff is really a train wreck.

Fiscal cliff train wreck

I meant car wreck.

Fiscal cliff slow motion car wreck

No, I really meant to say the cliff is a wall.

Fiscal cliff talks hit wall

But don’t worry because you’ll be able to fly over it.

Fiscal cliff air travel

Santa didn’t pack it in his bag of goodies.

Fiscal cliff under christmas tree

Maybe he was trying to hide something.

Fiscal cliff's dirty secretI’m guessing it was something like this.

Fiscal cliff is a hangover

There is a hangover remedy, though.

Fiscal cliff coupons

Of course, maybe the fiscal cliff really will lead to the apocalypse.

Fiscal cliff going nuclear

Fiscal cliff armageddon

Australians warn that there’s something worse.

Fiscal cliff and greenback flood

I’m not so sure.

Fiscal cliff could last forever

So here’s my suggestion.

Fiscal cliff kill it

Better yet, kick the can, clip some coupons and fly over that fiscal cliff! But don’t go nuclear if you hit a wall, wind up with a hangover and start seeing train wrecks, car wrecks and floods of greenbacks. That’s the dirty little secret of this never-ending Armageddon.

OK, I feel better. Or at least I will until my wife turns on the radio.

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