The American government is typically reactionary: It blunders along down the same blind path until major events force a correction ("leading from behind"). Unfortunately, in the history of this nation, nothing constitutes "a major event" until blood is spilled. Euphemistically, the "Fiscal Cliff" would qualify.
I say: "Let 'er Rip"! The one thing you can be sure of is that any congressional agreement to avoid it will amount to nothing less than a rubber stamp for "More of the Same.
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's own money" (Alexis de Tocqueville) We are witnessing the materialization of this. Ever working American now owes over $100,000.