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The Upside of a Fiscal Cliff Failure


The President's second term hasn't even officially begun yet and it looks like we're in for another spell of Obama drama, which is really just a catchy way of characterizing this administration's tendency to careen from one crisis to the next, almost intentionally. It's a trait that Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan characterized as "the Obama way.''

And so as the months become weeks and the weeks become days, there is a growing and very real belief that maybe a deal won't be struck by Christmas and Congressional leaders will in fact allow the country to go over the cliff.

Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at Potomac Research Group, says failure is not just an option at this point, it might even hold some advantages.

"It might be preferable to go over the cliff," he says in the attached video, "because that would create such angst and panic that we could probably get a deal done by mid-January." It's an outcome, he says, that would be more preferential than if Congress passes "some lame deal on December 22nd."

As he sees it, an interim fix would only lead to two to three more months of negotiations to fill in the details, which in turn would cause all of the current uncertainty to persist until Springtime. Like the rest of us, Valliere is growing tired of the story and is getting madder by the day at this unnecessary and self-inflicted waste of time, but he's also not surprised that it's come to this given the hardline tactics and negotiating skills that the President is deploying.

"I don't think Obama's initial proposal advances the cause very much," he says. "If anything it makes more and more people think that we could go over the cliff."

And when you add in the idea of eliminating the debt ceiling or at least allowing the President to increase it on his own without Congressional backing, Valliere says "talk about a monkey wrench! That is a really big complicating factor."

There are two other areas that could present unexpected outcomes, including his expectation that the the so-called ''rich threshold" for tax increases of $250,000 in annual income, will be revised higher alongside a top tax bracket that rises only to 36 or 37% from the current 35%. And he also warns that media reports of widespread Republican defections from their anti-tax pledges "just isn't born out" and he pegs the number at fewer than 10%.

What it all means is that there are still plenty of entrenched partisans to keep this fight going right up until New Years eve. How do you think the fiscal battle will end? Let us know in the comment section below or visit us on Facebook!