Zakaria: Will we get big fiscal deal, or small?
December 11th, 2012
03:39 PM ET

Zakaria: Will we get big fiscal deal, or small?

By Fareed Zakaria

Talking about the fiscal cliff involves guesswork at this point, but here is my guess.  There will be a deal before the end of the year, when spending cuts and tax rises are scheduled to kick in. But will we get a small deal that simply gets us through the immediate crisis, or will there be a grand bargain?

The outlines of an eventual deal are pretty obvious – there will be some increase in tax rates as well as some closing of deductions and loopholes because, the rate increases being discussed don’t get you enough revenue. And in return for this, there will be some spending cuts or, more likely, restraints placed on future spending. For a grand bargain, you would need major tax reform and major entitlement reform. Neither is likely. So we’re likely to get some patchwork solution that will be enough to stave off a crisis.

How to get there? Republicans should give in on the tax hikes and focus on the issue of what kind of spending cuts they would like to see, and how real these cuts would actually be in practice. Democrats should make sure they get the tax hikes and try to shape the spending cuts so that they are neither immediate nor do they hit the poor too hard.

More from CNN: Forget the cliff, economy is rebounding

Who will win? Right now, it seems to me that President Obama is in the more powerful position and has been playing his hand with a kind of toughness born of the lessons he has learned over the last four years. He’s refusing to negotiate with himself, refusing to produce his own compromises before offering them to the Republicans, and he is forcing the Republicans to provide some specifics.

This is ultimately a matter of numbers, and there is a way to split the difference so that the two sides can meet somewhere in the middle. But I think it will be closer to the president’s side of the spectrum than the Republicans’. Elections have consequences.

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Topics: Economy

soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. thomas michael

    4% UNEMPLOYMENT BY SWITCHING TO NATURAL GAS 40000 JOBS , NO FOREIGN OIL AND INCOME TO PAY OFF DEBT ,, JUST TO SIMPLE

    January 13, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  2. thomas michael

    NEXT CITY TO FALL DETROIT ,WILL BE IN BANKRUPTCY IN 3 MONTHS, ALONG WITH OTHER CITIES , THEN CALIFORNIA , GET READY FOR DEFLATION NOT INFLATION , BECAUSE PEOPLE DONT HAVE JOBS, 10,000 BABY BOOMERS A MONTH GOING FROM PAYING TAXES TO GETTING CHECKS AND BEING CHEAP, SMALLER HOUSE , NO KIDS

    January 13, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  3. thomas michael

    DEFLATION AND STOCKS AND OIL WILL FALL OFF OF THE HIGH RIDE IN 2 MONTHS , WILL FALL FARTHER THAN LAST RECESSION , GET READY FOR DEFLATION. THE GOVT WILL DO NOTHING BUT SPEND OIL RESERVE MONEY ON ITSELF AND SEND MONEY TO OTHER COUNTRIES

    January 13, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Reply
  4. thomas michael

    HOUSING PRICES WILL NOT RISE , NO JOBS TO SUPPORT PAYMENTS , HIGHER PRICES ARE BECAUSE THE STRESSED ,MONEY IN THE BANK PERSON , JUST RAN OUT OF UNEMPLOYMENT CHECKS AND OWES 300 ON A 250 K HOUSE , ITS NOW REACHING THE HIGHER PAY SCALE HOME OWNER WHO HAS TO SELL

    January 13, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Reply
  5. Louis Dupree

    Here is another reason not to have the Keyston pipeline

    this is from the "Christian Science Monitor" August 9, 2006
    In recent years, about 500 oil spills have occurred in the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and along the 800-mile pipeline each year, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, even though the daily "throughput" of oil has declined from about 2 million barrels a day in 1987 to less than half that today. Most leaks are minor, quickly detected, and remedied.

    But in March, the largest leak in North Slope production history – as many as 267,000 gallons – poured out of a corroded pipeline at the Prudhoe Bay complex for five days before being discovered. Since then, US EPA investigators have been seeking to determine whether BP violated the federal Clean Water Act by failing to prevent corrosion in the ruptured line. If it did, criminal charges could follow.

    March 10, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  6. fghjfgjh

    ORGS HUMAN RACE STUDIES AND AGENCYES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MONSANTO!!!!!!! –– ARE TRYNG TO DAMAGE DNA OF THE VICTMS, IRRADIATING TO PRODUCE CANCER ALZEIMER.
    SATELITAL ASESSINATIOSN IN VENEZUELA, HUMAN SELL NANO TRANSMISOR SELL MILLIONS OF CALCULUS PER SECOND.

    MANIPULATION WITH NANO TECHNOLOGY NANO COMPUTERS WITH IPs.

    hhtp://www.mudpgi.blog.com
    SATELITAL ASESSINATIOSN IN VENEZUELA, HUMAN SELL NANO TRANSMISOR SELL MILLIONS OF CALCULUS PER SECOND.

    MANIPULATION WITH NANO TECHNOLOGY NANO COMPUTERS WITH IPs.

    hhtp://www.mudpgi.blog.com
    SATELITAL ASESSINATIOSN IN VENEZUELA, HUMAN SELL NANO TRANSMISOR SELL MILLIONS OF CALCULUS PER SECOND.

    MANIPULATION WITH NANO TECHNOLOGY NANO COMPUTERS WITH IPs.

    hhtp://www.mudpgi.blog.com
    SATELITAL ASESSINATIOSN IN VENEZUELA, HUMAN SELL NANO TRANSMISOR SELL MILLIONS OF CALCULUS PER SECOND.

    MANIPULATION WITH NANO TECHNOLOGY NANO COMPUTERS WITH IPs.

    hhtp://www.mudpgi.blog.com
    SATELITAL ASESSINATIOSN IN VENEZUELA, HUMAN SELL NANO TRANSMISOR SELL MILLIONS OF CALCULUS PER SECOND.

    MANIPULATION WITH NANO TECHNOLOGY NANO COMPUTERS WITH IPs.

    hhtp://www.mudpgi.blog.com
    SATELITAL ASESSINATIOSN IN VENEZUELA, HUMAN SELL NANO TRANSMISOR SELL MILLIONS OF CALCULUS PER SECOND.

    MANIPULATION WITH NANO TECHNOLOGY NANO COMPUTERS WITH IPs.

    hhtp://www.mudpgi.blog.com
    SATELITAL ASESSINATIOSN IN VENEZUELA, HUMAN SELL NANO TRANSMISOR SELL MILLIONS OF CALCULUS PER SECOND.

    MANIPULATION WITH NANO TECHNOLOGY NANO COMPUTERS WITH IPs.

    hhtp://www.mudpgi.blog.com
    SATELITAL ASESSINATIOSN IN VENEZUELA, HUMAN SELL NANO TRANSMISOR SELL MILLIONS OF CALCULUS PER SECOND.

    MANIPULATION WITH NANO TECHNOLOGY NANO COMPUTERS WITH IPs.

    hhtp://www.mudpgi.blog.com
    SATELITAL ASESSINATIOSN IN VENEZUELA, HUMAN SELL NANO TRANSMISOR SELL MILLIONS OF CALCULUS PER SECOND.

    MANIPULATION WITH NANO TECHNOLOGY NANO COMPUTERS WITH IPs.

    hhtp://www.mudpgi.blog.com
    SATELITAL ASESSINATIOSN IN VENEZUELA, HUMAN SELL NANO TRANSMISOR SELL MILLIONS OF CALCULUS PER SECOND.

    MANIPULATION WITH NANO TECHNOLOGY NANO COMPUTERS WITH IPs.

    hhtp://www.mudpgi.blog.com

    August 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  7. Subhash K Batra

    Fareed, a few months ago, I wrote to you about your fascination with Henry Kissinger. I mentioned his role in getting 3 million Bangladeshi's sacrificed in 1971 to bring Nixon to China. I do not think you believed me. You may want to read the Op-Ed by Gary Bass in NYT, Sept. 30th. Then ask your self if it is wise to glorify murderers like Nixon and Kissinger.

    Best

    September 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  8. palintwit

    You're not a true tea party patriot unless you have at least one copy of Sarah Palin's infamous crosshairs poster. Now getting Gabby Giffords to autograph one will earn you a seat next to Sarah Palin at the teabag office christmas party.

    April 25, 2014 at 10:44 am | Reply
  9. songhees

    Dear Fareed
    I would be so pleased if you had me on your show to show some balance to The biggest deception of all time re Global Warming and sea rise levels. You can reach me on Skype
    I want to let you know of my new book for your perusal.
    'The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science'
    I have been silenced for 40 years by the MSM.
    Thank you.
    Tim
    Historical Climatologist

    PS My website is

    June 8, 2014 at 11:25 am | Reply
  10. Philip

    Who is "we", Kimosabe.
    And what about huge government debt? 17 trillion public debt is nothing. Even with just 1/2 of US working we still crank out 12 trillion GDP.

    September 2, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  11. Philip

    DeD tHreAd. Sheeah. We need Jewish news correspondants. :)

    September 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Reply
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