I'm not sure why this "fiscal cliff" is so bad. The US has an enormous budget deficit. Even after the cliff they'd still be in deficit. Seems to me some real tightening would be a good idea. It's not going to get easier building budget surpluses later, seeing as the working age % of the population is decreasing steadily.
And the cliff might be the only way to get tax increases through, in light of the Republican hatred of all such increases, plus the only way to cut entitlements seeing as the Democrats hate such cuts with equal passion. Both things are undoubtedly necessary if the budget is ever going to get balanced. Which it will surely have to. You can only other people's money for so long before noone's willing to foot the bill anymore.
It will also be easier once they've gone over, because then they can discuss tax breaks and entitlement increases instead of the opposite.
That is exactly what those politicians I was talking about are saying! However, the real problem with the cliff is if something doesn't get decided soon who takes the big hit. The American "Middle Class" which has taken so many hits already it almost doesn't exist any more! The U.S. is becoming a country of rich people and poor people. When a country's "Middle Class" gets wiped out leaving only rich and poor is when class conflicts start to come into that country. We may have some time to go yet in the U.S. before that actually happens, but the clock is ticking on that also!