With so much talk as of late regarding the topics of fiscal cliff and debt ceiling, I am wondering what the difference or differences are between these two concepts being thrown around the political arena. To me, it seems like two separate words describing the same thing. For instance, I understand the government has a huge deficit. While I am not sure if this statistic is accurate or up to date, but, I have heard $1.5 trillion dollars. With $1.5 trillion dollars in debt, I believe the government has been frantically trying to resolve this situation before going into default by the end of the fiscal year. In other words, I believe the government has a "set" amount or debt ceiling which it can go up to before defaulting on its own debt. And, if it exceeds that amount by the end of the fiscal year, then, it results in what is termed a fiscal cliff. But, what about debt ceiling? Does it not describe the same scenario or are fiscal cliff and debt ceiling actually two different things operating here?
Any shared thoughts or opinions to this question will be greatly appreciated. I look forward to hearing back from everyone.