A SCENARIO PLANNING BULLETIN from your SCENARIO CONSULTANTS:
In the classic game theory situation in which no one has anything to gain from looking as though they have too hastily bargained away something on which their main supporters do not want to give a nanometer, there is probably NO reason to come to any agreement before the LAST possible minute, and every reason to make it look as though there is no hope whatsoever for any agreement at all UNTIL the last possible minute.
In other words…it is a HIGHLY plausible scenario that Democrats and Republicans will declare several times that Fiscal Cliff negotiations are stalled, doomed, the other side is being intransigent, unreasonable, hates future generations, etc. etc. etc., and highly plausible that a grateful media will bewail this situation and fill our heads with profitable visions of, apologies to Ben Stein's teacher character in "The Wonder Years," "a hellish nightmare of death and devastation," right up to the final moment at which a deal is cut, with the absolute minimum number of votes, that will at least maim sacred cows on both sides, just in time for both sides to go home for their holiday dinners blaming the other side for the agreement…until and unless it proves to be good for their electoral prospects.
This has been a SCENARIO PLANNING BULLETIN from your SCENARIO CONSULTANTS.