11/29/2012 07:28 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2013

The Fiscal Cliff (Explained in 5 Minutes)

With the elections over, the nation's attention has turned to a set of spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to go into effect at the start of next year. All totaled, these measures would take more than $600 billion out of the economy in 2013.

Many are referring to these impending policy changes as the "fiscal cliff," while others prefer less alarmist metaphors such as "fiscal slope" or "fiscal curb." The Newsbound team just refers to the situation as the "fiscal whatchamacallit."

In our latest explainer, we break down where it came from, what might happen if we do nothing about it, and what a potential solution could look like. (To advance, use the arrow keys on your keyboard. If using a touchscreen device, just swipe the screen.)

If you liked the format, check out our previous piece on the civilian-military gap. Additional explainers are available at