NR’s editors have a pretty pessimistic take on the fiscal-cliff talks. If no deal emerges, then Republicans have two options. The high-risk one is to pass an extension of all the tax cuts, watch Senate Democrats block it, watch tax rates rise for everyone, and try to blame Obama and the Democrats for this result. The low-risk one is to pass an extension of the middle-class tax cuts, which presumably the Democrats would have to pass, and watch taxes for high earners rise. That way at least Republicans wouldn’t get blamed for middle-class tax increases.
That second option isn’t great. But it’s better than some of the possible deals I’ve been reading and hearing about.