All of this talk about the so-called "fiscal cliff" is pointless. Here we are again: our leadership simply will not confront the gravest problem the country faces: gross overspending. Right now, the federal government spends $10 BILLION A DAY. You could literally tax the wealthiest Americans to kingdom come, and it would fund the government for a handful of days. Tax rates really aren't the issue, although if rates were reduced (including the individual, corporate, capital gains, and dividend tax rates), we'd see economic growth and job creation, leading to more money flowing into the Treasury (as it always has when rates have been cut).
The real issue is spending...all kinds of government spending but primarily health care entitlement spending. Without real reform of Medicare and Medicaid (never mind the Mother Of All Budget-Busting Entitlements, ObamaCare), the deficit and debt will continue to explode until the laws of economics kick in and everything comes to a screeching halt. (See: Greece).
Paul Ryan's last two budgets---passed by the House and killed by Harry Reid in the Senate---attempted to deal with entitlement reform before the grotesque overspending becomes a full-blown crisis and the programs end themselves. Most Democrats refuse to even look at reform, wishing to go on spending blindly and buying votes along the way.
The gravy train WILL end, because the laws of economics will not allow it to continue. But our leadership insists on whistling past the graveyard. So much so that on Black Friday, we went even more profoundly into the red. That day---the day after Thanksgiving---the Treasury borrowed an astounding $24.3 BILLION. In one day. (Read it here: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/black-friday-treasury-borrowed-21169-us-household-day-after-thanksgiving )
This is no way to run a great power. But then again, that status is quickly slipping away---by our own hand.