Maybe this is the end whose arrival T.S. Eliot ordained would come “not with a bang, but a whimper.” Ignore the puffed-up rhetoric. Set aside the dramatics of casting major votes less than 48 hours before a new Congress took the oath of office. The deal that staggered across the president’s desk last week was a legislative whimper of the first order.
Where are the tough choices? Where are the sacrifices? Avoiding the immediate consequences of the “fiscal cliff” involved two actions that come naturally to most legislators: not cutting spending and not raising taxes. It was the easy path, and that’s precisely why we’re in trouble.