The world is a confusing place, so let Professor GIF explain the most befuddling topics through the magic of animated GIFs.

IN THIS ISSUE: 3 easy facts and 18 hilarious GIFs explaining this whole fiscal cliff thing.

Fact #1: Democrats and Republicans are facing a January 1st fiscal cliff deadline, because of the irresponsible procrastination of Democrats and Republicans.

If you read all of 2012's news at once, it would look like over ten months of Obama versus Romney, and then another solid month of Obama versus the Republican-controlled House. Obama and legislators like Sen. Marco Rubio continue to stump all over the country, and both parties are barraging Americans with attack ads, as if the campaign never ended.

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Only difference this time is that instead of campaigning to gain or keep their jobs, politicians are now campaigning to get more of what their party wants out of a horrifying budgetastic mathematical debacle.

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It's called THE FISCAL CLIFF, and we're told that if it doesn't get worked out properly, we could see the entire economy collapse, shattering the basic financial security Americans depend on to keep their jobs and put food on the table.

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Man, whoever put the Democrats and Republicans in this kind of a bind must be ridiculously irresponsible! Thing is, the people who have to solve this problem and the people who created this problem are basically the same people.

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Congress can barely get a budget together these days. This past summer they only just managed to prevent a total government shutdown by agreeing on a new budget deal. And that deal simply passed the buck on 2011's buck-passing budget crisis that depended on ridiculously short-term "continuing resolutions" to keep government running long enough for another round of arguments.

Now the Feds have avoided and can-kicked their way into an extensive set of tax hikes and budget cuts that all happen on New Year's Day 2012 or the day after. Some say calling this a "fiscal cliff" is overtly scary for no good reason, and others want to rename it completely, but either way a lot of dangerous procrastination is coming to a head. It's a meaningful problem, not just some stupid term people keep repeating.

But what really happens if this "fiscal cliff" thing doesn't get worked out?