The dreaded fiscal adjustment Washington lawmakers are scrambling to prevent is less of a "cliff" than a pristine garden that is being stomped on by "unwanted visitors," an economist told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Monday.
As warnings about the "fiscal cliff" continue from Wall Street, Corporate America and the Washington political establishment, Jeffrey Cleveland, senior economist at Payden & Rygel, said a slope metaphor "is the wrong way" to view the problem and the solution.
In fact, Cleveland argues, its more like a green space.
"There's no single group at the top that can manage that garden in a top-down fashion," he said. "It's going to be organic, it's going to be bottom-up, and there are things they can do to harm things."