Here's a headline, with only a little exaggeration, that I think we are increasingly likely to see in some media after New Years:
Obama Trades off Social Security
Hostage Jobs Killed Anyway
Critics Predict Depression
Nothing good for millions of Americans can come, now, from "Cliff" dealings between Obama and Congressional Republicans. To avoid harm, they'd have to just call it off. Obama established the Bowles -- Simpson ("B.S.") Commission in April 2010. B.S. recommended about $4 trillion in cuts. That was such extreme austerity it could not even get the 14 votes supermajority required for Commission approval. Republicans had degraded Obama's political capital by delegitimizing him as a "Muslim," "socialist," "Hitler-like," "foreigner," "Food Stamp President" "of the Takers." etc. A recent search of the phrase "obama secret muslim" found nearly 48 million hits. The de-legitimizing campaign and successful Republican strike against approving debt ceiling increase pushed Obama himself toward offering the $4 trillion cuts over 12 years.
Millions of Americans need every penny of Social Security, Medicare, etc. we get. But the B.S. process Republicans and Obama undertook set up a "Hostage Jobs" crisis. If they go over the fiscal cliff deadline, and spending is cut, job creators will kill jobs that were government -- spending dependent jobs. But even if they do make a deal, cuts so severe will lead to job killing. Go over the fiscal cliff or don't, cut across the board or surgically, cuts of roughly $4 trillion will cause employers to kill jobs.
When hostage job killings begin, there will be enormous pressure on Obama and the Democrats to stop them. Republicans will use this pressure to extort cuts to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for any revenue increases to avert any more mass hostage job killing. That will not be "compromise," but extortion.