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What's left, however, is the idea that what ails the economy is the deficit, and that the deficit is a result of government's intoxication with spending for the sake of spending, and that therefore the cure for what ails the economy is cutting government spending.

As you say, we'll have to see. Although the only people who really believe the above are the ones who already did anyways -- I'd find it hard to believe the circus we endured the past few weeks actually changed minds, hence the reason the battles ahead are going to still be battles and not capitulations (except to the partisan bases on both sides who see any concessions as totally caving to the other side) ...

What I don't really see is where this all gets us to really solving anything. We just had a round where we raised revenue -- probably as much as we're likely to get with this and the next bunch in Congress. The next round will be where they deal with the sequestration and what cuts will happen (too many for some folks, not enough for others) and that will probably be all the cuts we can get out of this upcoming Congress. Then we'll go through the debt-ceiling hostage-taking stupidity, which I'm thinking is where the White House goes nuclear and unilaterally raises the ceiling and the whole thing goes to the Supremes ...

But none of that will be enough revenue or cuts to really get us on the right path. Ideally, we'd really sit down and figure out tax reform and entitlement reform and decide how much of a military we really need -- but I'm thinking hyper-partisanship will kill any really meaningful dialogue and we'll just spend the next couple years playing brinksmanship until that simply becomes sop ... in a fantasy world, the 2014 elections throw-out a lot of the rabid ideologues and restores capability back to the Congress, but I'm not holding my breath.

What really needed to happen, to be honest, was for us to actually go over the cliff, have everyone's taxes raised, and the draconian cuts to programs to have occurred -- in a more perfect world, how this would have happened and in what time frame would have been managed to ease the resultant and necessary pain this country will eventually need to endure to correct our course. But political reality and the economy dictated that wasn't going to happen, so now I'm not really sure what is the way forward ...