What bothers me the most about all this is that no one--besides Krugman now and then--took the opportunity to educate the people about what was going on. A lot of people, maybe most people, still think that the "cliff" was all about the debt. I think people here know better since the "cliff" was a danger because it would have attacked the deficit very directly, and so probably caused another deprecession. It's really why the republicans have won yet once again, AFAIC: they've made the idea of reducing the deficit the single issue that people focus on, and at this point in the economic history of the country, attacking the deficit = reducing the size of government in a pretty destructive way. Remember that reducing the size of government is the rep's # 1 priority now that they can't work on making Obama a one-term president any more. No one (besides Krugman now and then) has made the case that in a recession the size of a deficit by definition has to go up, and that having that happen is the only way to prevent a depression. No one (besides Krugman now and then) has pointed out that the real damage to the deficit was done under Bush, whose deficits ran up close to a trillion a year despite the fact that there was no recession under way--and of course back then, as Cheney used to say, deficits didn't matter.

So sure, the temporary fix is not as terrible as it could have been. But the republicans have won the war.
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