"Gradual adjustment, among other things, means avoiding a fiscal cliff in the United States...If the ceiling of public debt is not increased in the United States you would have what I would call the mother of all fiscal cliffs. You would have essentially an immediate tightening, would be necessary to bring down the deficit of the federal government from the current level, which is about 8 percent of GDP or a bit more, to zero. It would be a huge tightening. In the context of a plan, of a medium-term plan with a gradual adjustment, this kind of adjustment is clearly too large for the United States and for the world economy in 2013."
Remarks of Carlo Cottarelli, Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, at International Monetary Fund Fiscal Monitor meeting, Tokyo, Japan