Reaching the fiscal cliff is an unmitigated disaster in terms of the people's already minimal confidence in government. It's going to crush the markets in the short term as well. I work in real estate and the home sales numbers are propped up by the existence of short sales. One of the tax breaks that goes away when we tumble over the cliff is the amnesty on taxes on forgiven mortgage debt. Short sales will come to a screeching halt when sellers have to start paying taxes on the $40,000 they're not repaying to the lenders when the short sale occurs. Which sets the housing market back again. Treasury announced earlier this week that they can pay the bills and keep the government running through February, which gives Congress two months after the fact to clean up the mess. It also gives people two months to incorrectly withhold income taxes because they have no idea what those taxes will be. So we'll get the double-whammy of the damage done simply by going over the cliff, then the decrease in consumer spending either now (prepping for an increase in taxes) or Q1 2014 (when people see how they short they are on taxes owed for 2013). It's inexcusable.