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Frank Rich: The Fiscal Cliff Was a Molehill

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It is discouraging that Obama would retreat on what he had previously vowed to be a nonnegotiable line in the sand -- refusing to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for income over $250,000 a year. (That line moved to $400,000 for individuals, $450,000 for couples.) He ran on this inviolate stand and won. It makes you wonder if he will hold to his other ostensibly firm position -- refusing to let the nation's debt ceiling be held hostage in the coming battle over budget cuts, due in March. Obama did stave off cuts to Social Security and Medicare and extended unemployment insurance for a year. But in truth, for all the news-media hysteria over the "fiscal cliff," the cliff may prove a molehill in the view of history anyway. It's just another skirmish in an ideological war that promises far bloodier battles ahead.

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At nymag.com

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