The political and economic ramifications are too big for Washington to let the large tax increases and spending cuts take effect. But this doesn't necessarily mean lawmakers will craft a decisive solution to the nation's fiscal woes.
Gleckman asks: Will it take the fear of a financial market collapse and a cliff-driven recession to change the karma on Capitol Hill? Or, can Congress find an easier route to fiscal sanity by ducking the coming showdown?
If 'the rich' are defined as those who can afford and ought to be expected to pay higher income taxes, then the categorization is really much broader than multimillionaires.
Tax policy experts disagree on many things, including what the definition of 'rich' is. But they agree that imposing a minimum tax of any kind is an admission of policy failure.
The spending deal that averted a government shutdown passed the House and Senate Thursday. But a recent report suggests it cuts only $352 million this year, not $39 billion.
The budget deficit overshadows all other economic problems facing the country, though there is room for more unemployment benefits, according to Republican economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin.