Stripped of its rhetorically charged language the fiscal cliff is simply a legal trigger that will trim the deficit in 2013 by automatically implementing spending cuts and tax increases. In other words, the government will spend less, and more of what it does spend will be paid for with taxes rather than debt. Isn’t this exactly what both parties, and the public, more or less want? The fiscal cliff means that the federal budget deficit will be immediately cut in half, shrinking to approximately $641 billion in 2013 from the approximately $1.1 trillion in 2012. What is so terrible about that? I would argue that there is a greater danger in avoiding the cliff than driving over it.
Of course, Congress will do no such thing. Instead it will renege on its word, paper over the whole mess and shove it all over to 2022 or later. This will be praised as bi-partisanship by regressives and Republicans alike and the nation and the media will return its attention to more important matters, such as the Kardashians.