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Politico: Decoding the Fiscal Cliff Talk

Author: Ben White
November 30, 2012

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Politico provides a guide to the dance of getting to a deal on the fiscal cliff.

Judging from the headlines, the high stakes fiscal cliff talks in Washington are "stalled," "stuck" and "stalemated." Republicans are laughing at President Barack Obama's initial offer.

The president is hitting the road to draw the people to his side for a long, bloody war that could drag into next year.

Doom, cloaked in the sinister garb of economy killing tax hikes and spending cuts, will surely arrive with the New Year and drive the United States back into recession.

Only that is not what is happening. And the true insiders know it.

Both sides privately acknowledge that they are playing familiar roles in a largely choreographed drama whose precise end may not be known, but is likely to include a sizable tax hike on the order of $1 trillion, spending cuts that get somewhere close to that number and a pledge to come back next year and try really, really hard to do fundamental tax and entitlement reform. Administration officials say privately they were not really surprised at the GOP's frosty reaction to their initial salvo.

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