21 days to the fiscal cliff 

Posted: 9:07 pm Sunday, December 9th, 2012

By Jamie Dupree

After finger pointing seemed to dominate last week on the fiscal cliff, many might expect this week in Washington, D.C. to be dominated by work behind the scenes to cut a deal to avert a year-end tax and budget impasse, while still delaying some of the battles on details into next year.

One sign of that was on Sunday, as President Obama met with Speaker Boehner at the White House; it was their first face-to-face meeting in over three weeks, sending a signal of action.

Neither side would comment, and the fact that a joint statement was released by top aides on both sides certainly hints at something being in the works.

“This afternoon, the President and Speaker Boehner met at the White House to discuss efforts to resolve the fiscal cliff. We’re not reading out details of the conversation, but the lines of communication remain open,” read the statement issued by both parties.

What does it mean and where are we going?

No one really knows that outside of the Obama-Boehner negotiating bubble, but if I was forced to guess, it seems like we may be heading towards a basic compromise that involves new tax revenue, budget cuts and entitlement reforms – but one that leaves many of the details until next year.

That would mean 2013 would be dominated by things like major tax reform, entitlement changes to help the solvency of Medicare and Social Security, finding ways to squeeze savings from the budget and more.

Right now, the rank and file from both parties are out of the loop – just like the rest of us.

Of course, it could still all implode, or lawmakers could just extend everything into the New Year, though that still seems unlikely at this point.

We’ll see in coming days if lawmakers can get something ironed out before Christmas.

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