Would it be the end of the world if Washington failed to reach a deal to stop the more than half a billion dollars in spending cuts and tax increases from going into effect?
Some lawmakers, pundits and politicians say no - there's time to get it down in January.
But, does that theory have holes?
CNN Money's Jeanne Sahadi is OutFront in tonight's OutTake.
Perils of going over the cliff temporarily
What happens if Washington fails to avert the fiscal cliff before the end of the year?
Some lawmakers and pundits suggest it won't be a big deal to go over the cliff for a short while. But that is assuming a lot, especially since Congress will be navigating uncharted waters.
Experts say policymakers probably have a grace period of a few weeks in January to cut a deal and reverse the more than $500 billion in scheduled tax increases and spending cuts.
But by the end of January, if not sooner, family budgets and the broader economy could start feeling the pinch.
To be sure, policymakers could make certain adjustments to temporarily delay the impact of the fiscal cliff.