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 (92 Responses)
  1. rightospeak

    Fiscal Cliff reality check. The talk of the town is saving $2 trillion over 10 years ? At the current rate we just about create that much debt in ONE YEAR. What about the $16 trillion debt ?How will that ever be paid ? I did not want to be vulgar and mention the $85 trillion debt due to unfunded liabilities which equal about 5X the GDP. Why the big picture always seems so fuzzy ?
    I really do not want to bust everybody's optimistic bubble by stating that UNLESS the offshored jobs return from India and China all we can do is just whistle dixie-job creation will be a myth. For the sake of reality check, I felt , I had to mention it.

    December 15, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  2. Prof.Perry Fisher

    Fareed is a cut, copy and paste journalist usually from other people's writings

    December 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  3. Vai Corinthians

    Small club from São Paulo? Keep up with the economic articles, ok? 2x FIFA world club champions! Eat your words mr. Zakaria. Vai Corinthians!

    December 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  4. 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 |
  5. 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 |
  6. 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 |
  7. 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 |
  8. Louis Dupree

    Here is another reason not to have the Keyston pipeline

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    August 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  10. 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 |
  11. 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 |
  12. 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 |
  13. 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 |
  14. Philip

    DeD tHreAd. Sheeah. We need Jewish news correspondants. 🙂

    September 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm |
  15. Benno Nager

    As a life long Republican I am ashamed to be associated with Trump. I hope the Republican Leadership is strong enough to separate from Trump, I much rather loose to Hillary with my dignity intact than be associated with Trump. Let him run as an Independent and take with him the extremists, maybe then we can return the Republican Party to the values it had when I joined 35Years ago. A Party of Hope and inclusiveness.

    December 13, 2015 at 7:34 am |
    • JG

      Go join the Democratic party !!!!

      February 19, 2017 at 1:16 pm |
  16. wardell henley

    This is a
    \\

    My compliant, is your words on your " Race in America ", piece. You stated that Racial prejudice, haws cause African Americans to have "LOW STANDARDS AND LOW MORALS", how dare you say that, I hope your comments leads to a law suit being filed against CNN. What if I said that the cast system in INDIA has lead to " INDIA'S HAVING LOW STANDARDS AND MORALS", . Fareed seem to be a educated person, he should know better then to make such statement.. Even when slavery exist, their were slaves with the highest standards and morals,.

    July 10, 2016 at 10:23 am |
  17. JG

    Why is it so hard for journalists to report the truth ? why they engage in speculations and half truths
    why their approval rating is 14% ? i am watching this clown Zakaria GPS Saturday February 19 and i can't believe what i hear... How many viewers this show has anyway?

    February 19, 2017 at 1:12 pm |
  18. Frank Goodman, Sr.

    Fareed: You and like thinkers are the leaders of our world and the world of the future. The likes of Donald Trump and the remnants like Hillary Clinton are not. Neither are the upstarts like Bernie Sanders nor the past tyrants and apologists like Hitler and Stalin. Jesus is past and so are Muhammad and Ghandi. You are right on. Keep it up and recruit your successor generations. Western Civilization is not the epitome reason nor acme of fatuity. You have the essence of Islam and the ideal of all others. We are on a road to reason, but not there yet. Keep moving.

    June 4, 2017 at 11:01 am |
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