'Twas the night before New Year's, when all through the House,
The Senate sat silent, still as a mouse,
Stocks had been picked by investors with care,
In hopes they'd escape the Cliff by a hair.

Shareholders were nestled all snug in their beds,
While nightmares of tax hikes haunted their heads,
With liberals left and conservatives right,
And media reports with no end in sight.

When out of Congress there arose such a clatter,
Brokers sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to Wall Street they flew like a flash,
Flipped open their laptops to witness the crash.


But those who prepared for this miserable hour,
Their stock market picks seemed much less sour.
For in these investors' books did appear,
Some special dividends, before the New Year
--

Before the tax hike, squeezing in at low rates,
Before Uncle Sam took some more for the States.
With generous yields, these companies spent,
Distributing dividends taxed fifteen percent
.

Now Tyson ! Now Oracle ! Now PetMed as well!
On, Las Vegas Sands , and Costco Wholesale !
Sturm, Ruger, & Co.
, and Wynn Resorts , too!
Now Carnival and Wal-Mart , sneaking them through.

Expedia's in, and Dish Network will play;
Heartland
and HCA made their holders' day.
And into portfolios these dividends flew,
With low-rate returns for investors to chew.

And then, in a twinkling, the moment had passed;
The fiscal-cliff fall had arrived at last
.
As he closed out positions and looked out below,
Mr. Market was dealt a one-two-three blow.

One: The Bush tax cuts disappeared in a flash,
A decade's adjustments tossed into the trash.
Two: Payroll tax cuts went out the door;
Workers pay out up to two percent more.
And three: To make up where the "Supercommitee" failed,
$1.2 trillion of spending curtailed.

Uncle Sam dressed in fur with the money he made --
A bundle of tax bucks from what we all paid.
His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
As he counted his newly earned piles of dough.
But Uncle Sam's joy soon faded from sight;
Mr. Market, Sam realized, was dealt quite a fright.

With $603 billion saved in a single night,
The deficit must've been bad -- right
?
But Christmas won't come for those who cut costs,
If their cost-cutting measures mean business is lost.

The policy changes the Cliff has us make
Put four percent of our economy at stake
.
Just next year alone, we'll eat half a percent --
Not to mention the nine percent unemployment.
Retirement savings taxed more like income,

While employer health care could be undone
.

But a little elf from Goldman whispered in my ear,
"Three-to-one odds against; there's nothing to fear."
A Moody's elf told me the whole thing's a hoax --
"A fifteen percent chance that Congress chokes."

They were chubby and plump, right jolly old elves.
Their words gave me hope, in spite of myself.
With a wink of their eyes and a twist of their heads,
They soon let me know I had nothing to dread.

The winners don't worry; they avoid all the talk,
And fill their portfolios with long-term stock.
As they sit back to watch the stocks that they chose,
Their return on investment steadily grows.

As alpha calmed down, traders gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
And I heard them exclaim that things were all right;
"Happy New Years to all, and to all a good night!"

Income stocks chosen for you with care
With the odds as they are and the market scared,
Fortunes await if you're well-prepared.
Before short-term traders can open their eyes,
Read this free report for nine dividend buys.

The article 'Twas The Night Before the Fiscal Cliff originally appeared on Fool.com.

Justin Loiseau owns none of these stocks and is too lazy to translate his disclaimer into rhyming anapestic tetrameter. You can follow him on Twitter, @TMFJLo, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFJLo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale, Heartland Express, Oracle, and Sturm, Ruger & Company. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Costco Wholesale. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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