The meeting will take place at 3:00 PM ET. With so little time before the end of the year, it's difficult to imagine a deal that would do much more than offer a temporary reprieve accomplishing little other than giving Congress a chance to go on vacation before coming back to battle over "Fiscal Cliff, Part 2."
Here's a reminder of some of the things that need to be addressed:
- Extend middle-class tax cuts
- Extend unemployment benefits
- Extend the alternative minimum tax patch
- Extend the Medicare "doc fix"
- Deal with other tax rates, including dividends, capital gains, and the estate tax
- Come up with stimulus to replace the expiring payroll tax holiday
- Raise the debt ceiling
- Reduce the severity of the sequester's spending cuts
If they can take care of all that in one meeting today, it will be a miracle. But if they merely kick the can down the road a couple of weeks, it will only guarantee that we're going to have to go through this all over again. It might make sense to do that if Congress merely needed more time to get the deal done, but Congress has had all the time in the world and the last thing we should be giving them is more of it. We're not going to be able to deal with the "fiscal cliff" until congressional Republicans to stop holding the economy hostage—and taking the pressure off them with a tiny punt won't do the job.