Minnesota economist Tom Stinson, whose biannual poker-faced delivery of the state's economic forecast has become a Capitol tradition, picked a cartoon image to describe the state's fate if the country goes over the so-called fiscal cliff.

The state's post-cliff job loss estimate, he told MPR, was only if "we go completely, Wile [E.] Coyote-style over the cliff and fall all the way to the bottom."

But that description begged the question: Would the fall be more like this?

Or like this?

Through a fine Minnesota Management and Budget spokesman, we got an answer from Stinson on which Wile E. Coyote cliff fall is more representative.

In response to our query, Stinson said: "As with all economic questions the answer is “It depends.” If the period you are observing began the day after the election -- or even the day after Thanksgiving – video #1 (lots of ups and downs, but ultimately a crash) is the proper depiction. If your observations begin December 31, video #2 (The Congress nudging the economy off the cliff) is more appropriate. In either instance the result is the same – the economy starts down at the start of the year, there is a lot of pain when we hit bottom, and it will take a while to climb back up to where we were before falling off the cliff."


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