Beyond the rhetoric and posturing in Washington, what does the fiscal cliff mean for investors?
The phrase is usually accompanied by dire warnings about what will happen to the nation's economy if the country fails to avert the fiscal cliff.
Even talk about a possible compromise has sent shivers up investors' spines.
One compromise would cap the tax exemption on municipal bonds - a tax break in effect since 1913. That has sent investors in that segment of the bond market scurrying for cover.
The compromise would also raise borrowing costs for municipalities.
As Mike Nicholas, CEO of the Bond Dealers of America, told CNBC, "It's a tax on everyone."
Another more likely part of any compromise would involve raising the capital gains tax rate from the current 15% to perhaps 25% or more.
That prospect affected many high-flying stocks, including Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), in which investors have large capital gains. Investors are selling Apple and other stocks before year's end to lock in the lower capital gains tax rate.
Erik Davidson, deputy chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank in San Francisco, told Reuters, "You're going to see selling in the likes of Apple and other companies that have had good runs."