Now that President Obama has secured re-election experts agree that both something will happen with the impending "fiscal cliff" and no one can guess what that will be. The whole point of the fiscal cliff was to put off making tough economic decisions during a time when the President and most of Congress were running for re-election. Now the vote is over and they're faced with a choice: Work out a new budget together or stand by helplessly as taxes rise on everyone, the defense department is eviscerated by budget cuts, and the economy grinds to a halt.
Some say Obama's return to office gives Democrats all the leverage, so the Republican House of Representatives will have to negotiate or risk getting steamrolled. Cliff solved. Others think the Democrats in the have all the leverage, so they will have no interest in negotiating away anything. Cliff disaster. Still more think Republicans have the advantage, because they're in the minority and won't get blamed if anything goes wrong so they can play hardball. Cliff disaster. Or, the Democrats know this and are willing to compromise to seem gracious Cliff solved. There's also the matter of the lame ducks, who leave Congress in January and therefore have nothing to lose. Cliff ... who knows? Also: It's not really a cliff.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.