Investors have been so worried over what to do about the rapidly moving European debt crisis that many of them probably have overlooked the political mess in Washington and looming "fiscal cliff" at year-end.
While troubles in Greece and throughout the euro zone have dominated headlines and driven market behavior, the idea that trillions of dollars in automatic tax increases and spending cuts are on the horizon has generated comparatively little chatter.
That's a dangerous position to be in for a market that has been so volatile and grasping for direction.
"It is unlikely that the cliff is fully priced into the markets," said Ethan S. Harris, North American economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "The economic consensus and markets have recognized the fiscal cliff for some time, but are only beginning to understand the size and timing of the shock to the economy."
Harris recently prepared a lengthy analysis of the effects from the fiscal cliff — a term coined by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to describe the automatic financial triggers that will go into place if Congress does not come to a deficit-reduction agreement before the end of the year.Page 1 of 5 | Next Page