It's hard to know if the United States will actually fall off the much-discussed fiscal cliff. Will relatively low tax rates expire at the end of 2012? Will there be sharp spending cuts to the military and domestic programs? Will gross domestic product shrink by 4% as the Congressional Budget Office has predicted?

No matter what kind of deal Beltway politicians hammer out, however, the managers at FPA - the Los Angeles firm formerly known as First Pacific Advisors - believe that this year's uncertainty just underscores what a dire fiscal situation the U.S. finds itself in.

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