The way to get a compromise averting a national plunge over the fiscal cliff is for one of the two sides to say, “if we give ground on this issue, what would you be willing to give ground on?” Then the other responds constructively.
That formula was offered in this space a couple of weeks ago. In the interim, Congress and the President have taken the opposite tack, with both sides saying, “we won’t give on this point, and we demand that you give on that point.”
There is no surer way than that to thwart progress, which is why none appears to have been made.
With the cliff’s arrival on Tuesday, it seems increasingly likely that our elected leaders will kick the can while blaming the other side. Both are default positions.
Serious compromise, it seems, must await the election of serious leaders.