WASHINGTON (AP) -- Economists say some of the anxiety about the fiscal cliff may be misplaced and that a brief fall probably wouldn't be too damaging.
Even if New Year's passes with no deal, there would be no need to panic as long as an agreement seemed likely soon. The tax increases and spending cuts could be retroactively repealed.
And experts say the impact of the tax increases would be felt only gradually. Most people would receive slightly less money in each paycheck.
One economist says the belief that recession is the inevitable result of a plunge off the fiscal cliff is wrong. Lewis Alexander of Nomura Securities says it would "ultimately depend on how long the policies are in place."
Most economists say they expect a deal, if not by New Year's then soon after, and that businesses and consumers will likely remain calm for a while.