Sadly, there isn’t going to be a good outcome from the ongoing “negotiation” about the so-called fiscal cliff.  That’s because regardless of what the President says, meaningful spending reforms are off the table. 

Note that I wrote spending reforms, not spending cuts, because what we really need is to reform programs that are driving our deficit problems—Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obama Care.  We don’t need to just arbitrarily chop a certain percentage from each agency or program budget; we need actual changes to key programs so that they are more sensibly configured and will not drown our country in red ink.

 As I wrote previously, such changes could be crafted so that the burden falls disproportionately on “the rich,” which the Left is anxious to tax but oddly reluctant to ask to give up a penny of taxpayer-provided benefits.   

As Charlotte has noted, failure to reach an agreement to avert the cliff will mean a big tax increase on Americans who can’t afford it.  That’s a tragedy and will be devastating to many families, and to the economy generally.  Yet it may be that’s better in the long term—for those families’ financial prospects as well as the economy and country as a whole–than agreeing to a deal that will allow our government to continue on its present path of reckless borrowing and spending. 

The Wall Street Journal summed it up this way:  “A bad budget deal is worse than no deal at all.” 

It’s clear that the Speaker has wanted to reach a deal.  He knows that his team lost the last election and the President has the upper-hand in negotiation. Yet there’s a point when you have to stand on principle and be prepared to walk away from negotiation.  It’s just about that time.