If you’re anything like me, you ducked out of the news a bit over the last few days for Christmas to enjoy time with family and recharge. The good news and the bad news after the holiday is the same: not much has changed. President Obama left town Friday after that afternoon press conference in which his remarks boiled down to “Y’all do the hard work of crafting a deal, Congress, and I’ll be in Hawaii.”
Obama says he is coming back early from vacation to work on a deal.
About half of Americans expect no deal to be struck before the January 1 deadline.
As I’ve written several times now, the Democrats’ incentives to strike a deal are very weak. If no deal is struck, then they get to achieve three of their long-standing goals: Raise taxes, cut defense, and divide Republicans. The last of the three is already well underway. They’ll get to blame Republicans for the first two of their cliff-mas presents.
The fiscal cliff isn’t the only disaster that Congress needs to avert by January 1. If they don’t pass some sort of farm bill, we could still see milk prices spike up past $7 per gallon. Congress could pass a non-larded up bill that just deals with this looming price hike, but so far they’re not.