UK & World News

  • 7 December 2012, 12:45

The Simpsons' Mr Burns Explains The Fiscal Cliff

The Simpsons character Mr Burns has managed to render simple the "fiscal cliff" with a pithy cartoon explanation.

It may be a complex and political concept but with the use of a simple graph, and a man in a car, the unpopular nuclear plant CEO succeeds in explaining the predicament facing the US economy.

Admittedly it may have a certain Republican spin to it, but given that the explanation is made in the Burns mansion where Romney presidential campaign posters are peeling from the wall, that's no surprise.

According to Mr Burns the "fiscal cliff" is defined simply as this: "Think of the economy as a car and the rich man as the driver. If you don't give the driver all the money he will drive you over a cliff.

"It's just common sense."

He goes on to tell his right-hand man, Smithers: "Furthermore, rich people feel things more than the common man."

The fiscal cliff is the $607bn (378bn) of cuts and taxes that will kick in on January 1 if the Republicans and the Democrats in Congress cannot agree on how to run the US economy.

While the Democrats favour raising taxes for the rich, the Republicans want to retain the tax cuts brought in by George W Bush and say it is Government spending that must be curtailed.

Because they failed to agree they made a deal on a package of tax rises and spending cuts, including defence and welfare, that will come into action in the new year unless a solution is found.

Economists have warned that if this happens then it could throw the US back into recession and damage the global financial recovery.

Some financial experts have said that the fiscal cliff is the biggest threat to global recovery, as the rest of the world looks to the US to lead them out of recession.

Congress is now working to try to find a solution before the December 31 deadline.

If they don't then Smithers will be driving Mr Burn's car to the top of the graph and over the cliff.