Republicans and Democrats are setting out fiscal goals that are light-years apart, Gleckman writes. Here are five stumbling blocks to a budget deal:
With negotiations still appearing stalled, a growing chorus on the left and right has been suggesting that a so-called "cliff dive" wouldn't be so bad. Better than cutting a bad deal, anyway.
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.
By jumping off the fiscal cliff, Congress can magically turn a tax increase into a tax cut. All it has to do is let existing tax cuts expire.