Bill Clinton: Fiscal talks "just a Kabuki dance"

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks during a campaign stop at Florida International University for President Barack Obama on September 11, 2012 in Miami.
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Talks between President Obama and congressional Republicans over the so-called "fiscal cliff" are seemingly stalled, but former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday didn't seem too concerned.

"It's just a Kabuki dance," Clinton said at an event in Sacramento, Calif., the Sacramento Bee reports. "They're sort of like two dogs that meet each other over a piece of meat. They're sniffing each other out. They are moving toward a deal. That's what's going on."

The "fiscal cliff" refers to a series of tax hikes and spending increases set to go into effect next year. The "cliff" would significantly shrink the deficit, but economists project it could send the economy back into a recession. While both Democrats and Republicans say they want to avert the "cliff" they disagree over the approach. Mr. Obama insists that Congress should let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans. Republicans, meanwhile, object to any tax increases and are calling for changes to programs like Medicare.

Mr. Obama on Wednesday appealed to a group of powerful business leaders to support his agenda.

As the negotiations drag out, Mr. Clinton predicted the public will grow even more cynical of Washington. "The American people are going to be sick when they watch this," he said.

If Washington fails to reach a deal to avert the "cliff," a recent poll showed, most Americans would blame Republicans.