It seems ungracious to fail to acknowledge Congressional approval of a bill that avoids the so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and budget cuts. But it would also be disingenuous to give our elected lawmakers much credit. If anything the endgame we watched unfold over the last few days seemed as contrived and shrewdly calculated as the posturing of the last few months. A few lawmakers avoided political suicide. That’s about it. We saw not one shred of evidence of an ability to govern responsibly.
About the most we can hope for at this point is a few months of attention diverted to other issues to allow the markets and the economy to stabilize a bit on their own and a bit on some measure of restored consumer confidence. We have so little political confidence that the simple avoidance of even greater harm seems like a victory.