(CBS News) The prospect of going over the so-called "fiscal cliff" should Congress and the White House fail to reach an agreement by year's end "ain't that huge" of a deal, TIME magazine columnist Joe Klein said today during a roundtable discussion on "Face the Nation."
"They will reach a deal," Klein said of the ongoing negotiations between Republicans and Democrats to avert the potentially disastrous series of spending cuts and tax hikes set to go into effect Jan. 1. "It may not be in the next 48 hours; it will be in the next couple of weeks."
Klein pointed out that if Washington can muster a deal to expire the Bush-era tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000 a year, the United States may see the economic boom it experienced following 1993, when then-President Clinton enacted that same rate. So while "there are really negative aspects to going over the cliff, especially for the very poor," he said, "it ain't that huge, I don't think. And I think they'll get the deal done."
Former Clinton press secretary and Vanity Fair contributor Dee Dee Myers argued one of the reasons the Clinton budget was so successful was "because it established rationality and predictability. ...The markets responded, the rest of the world looked at us and said, 'They can manage their affairs.' What bothers me about what we're about to do is we can't manage our affairs."
Myers argued that while she "would have liked to have seen the president do more reaching out during the entirety of his first term," the issue "is not the White House - it's in the culture of Congress." Pointing to House Speaker John Boehner's failure to collect enough support from within his own caucus for his "Plan B" proposal, which would have upped the income threshold for raising taxes to $1 million, Myers said lawmakers have become "increasingly partisan... and they're not willing to meet the president on any of this."
Juxtaposing him to her former boss Ronald Reagan, Washington Post columnist Peggy Noonan said President Obama bears his share of the blame for not channeling his Democratic majority into stronger leadership.
"One of the surprising things about President Obama in this crisis, I think, is that he walked in as a winner," Noonan said. "He just won an election. He had everything going for him - much higher popularity ratings than the Congress itself has. The Republicans were humiliated; they had no leverage. So you get those Republicans in, you get [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi in, and you shake it up. You give the Republicans something so that they can save face, but make them raise taxes.
"At the end of the day, nobody's happy," she continued. "But stability occurs. And the thing goes forward. I am continually surprised by President Obama that he lets it become these dreadful, enervating dramas."