The fiscal cliff that American is experiencing today is not he first time this type of financial disaster has faced the country. In the 1930's, the threat to the dollar, to the economy, and to the budget were just as harsh, and was created for many of the same reasons.
The Federal Reserves inept control over the money supply, and massive bubbles created by debt.
Professor Steve Keen of Debt Deflation.com has put together a video showing the parallels and comparisons between the fiscal cliff of the Depression era, and the fiscal cliff of 2012.
Here is his presentation before Congress on Dec. 5.