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Analysis: U.S. data, earnings suggest “fiscal cliff” fears overhyped

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The so-called “fiscal cliff” that dominated the media last year from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve was all about the potentially catastrophic damage that might have been inflicted upon the U.S. economy if Congress failed to push through some kind of legislation that would avoid the sudden expiration of tax cuts and budgeting. Of course, Congress did make a deal at the eleventh hour (literally). And in the days that followed, the stock market hit five-year highs, business and consumer confidence improved, and even a showdown over the ceiling on government debt appears to be easing. So what were so many CEOs really afraid of?