It looks like there will be no grand bargain. Perhaps, there will be some minor deals that will allow things to muddle along for a while. Perhaps there will be no deal at all and the economic ball will start rolling downhill, gathering speed as it goes.
If we do "go over the cliff," JMM and I will pay more income tax. I'm not thrilled with the idea but the fact is that we can afford it. We won't miss any meals or go without heat. We'll do some economizing but we will be just fine. This is certainly not the case with many, many people. We could end up right back in recession with its attendant increase in unemployment.
That being said, perhaps going over the cliff is not such a bad thing. We are deeply in debt and by going over the cliff, we will increase revenues and decrease expenditures. Yes, I know, everyone will be screaming about the increase in their taxes and the cuts in services. But what I wonder is: Where were these people when we started a totally useless and totally unfunded war in Iraq and proceeded to dilly dally with nation building in Afghanistan?? Because we have no draft and because we borrowed the money, the idea that war costs nothing and doesn't have anything to do with them seems to have been the prevailing sentiment. Well, here's news, folks: War is expensive and we are about to start paying, every last one of us. And even if our tax rates double or triple, we won't be paying near what the men and women who will spend the rest of their lives without their arms or legs or with their minds forever damaged.
I'm truly sorry that so many people will be hurt by the coming economic cliff and I am under no illusion that we have learned anything. We are about to start paying for our silence about Iraq and Afghanistan. Let us hope, pray, and vote so that our leaders will never again march us into another war.