After re-electing a president whose failures contributed to the inability to get a debt deal, we find ourselves facing the same old same old as before, only worse.

Time is running out to prevent the looming financial disaster known as the fiscal cliff. Recognizing that Congress is responsible, Bob Corker, Republican senator from Tennessee, and a member of the Senate Banking Committee, is nevertheless optomistic that Congress can fix this problem before it is too late. Indeed, Corker believes that the very bleakness of our situation may actually inspire Washington to get serious and find a solution:

In business I found that a challenging environment often produced our best opportunities. Perhaps that’s why I see the so-called “ fiscal cliff ” of year-end spending cuts and tax increases not as an impassable precipice but as our best opportunity to finally enact meaningful fiscal reform….

The fiscal cliff is a deadline of the 112th Congress’s making. We have  had two dry runs over the past two years. No Congress is better suited to address these issues than this one. It is our responsibility to solve these problems now. 

Kicking the can down the road — setting up a process for token deficit reduction today with the promise of more reforms later — is misguided and irresponsible and shows a total lack of courage….

I have shared with House and Senate leaders as well as the White House a 242-page bill that, along with other agreed-upon cuts that are to be enacted, would produce $4.5 trillion in fiscal reforms and replace sequestration. While I know this bill can be improved, it shows clearly that we can do what is necessary, today, with relatively simple legislation.

I hope Senator Corker’s optimism will prove justified. He’s right that plans have been written up and evaluated. Republicans seem inclined to make painful compromises, but the White House doesn’t. It seems committed to pushing the class warfare rhetoric that helped it stay in power.

ObamaCare was enacted with extreme ruthlessness. Democrats got their way; we will pay. If they are willing to employ the same ruthlessness between now and Christmas, we likely will go over the cliff.