Between the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) talks to reporters after the Senate Democrats' weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol Dec. 11, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

President Obama and some members of Congress have returned to Washington from their respective holidays to discuss the impending fiscal cliff and debt ceiling deadlines. As the talks continue, our Weekly Wrappers have suggestions for other topics to explore during this last weekend of 2012.

Wall Street Journal reporter Sudeep Reddy has these picks:

And The Guardian's Heidi Moore suggests these longreads: "All three of my picks this week are about New York, my hometown and a city that has been through a lot in 2012."

  • In the New York Review of Books, Zadie Smith has penned a lovely essay on the small, fleeting nature of joy. Like her, I love looking at people's faces and trying to read their experiences. New York City is a great place for this.
  • And finally, the MTA is creating its own subway app! This will achieve what every New Yorker has always dreamed of: knowing when the next subway is supposed to arrive.

President Obama spoke this afternoon about the continued talks over the fiscal cliff. "The American people are watching what we do here," he said. "Obviously their patience is already thin. This is deja vu all over again."

Reddy and Moore think a deal could still be possible.

"I do think there is a chance; whenever you get the two Senate leaders in a room, it's possible they can come up with something that works; that's kind of how the Senate tends to function in the end," says Reddy. "But the president sounded somewhat downbeat coming out of this meeting. And it sounded like he was laying the groundwork for damage control. He is setting this up to basically dare Congress with a final challenge -- that if Republicans want to block him on the fiscal cliff, they'll have to do it in a big public spectacle."

"I agree with Sudeep," said Moore. "It sounded like the president was basically trying to do damage control, and that he was preparing people for the eventuality that Washington just doesn't work like the rest of the country -- it doesn't meet its deadlines, it doesn't agree. And another reason to be pessimistic is even if the Senate gets something done, the Senate has never been the problem -- the House is. And the House doesn't meet until Sunday, and it's very unlikely that all of a sudden they're going to sleep on it and wake up new men who want this fiscal cliff deal to happen. They've been very firm about what they want -- which is no tax hikes for the rich -- and they're willing to go over the cliff if they don't get it. So I don't see how that's going to change overnight."

Listen to the full audio for more analysis on the fiscal cliff deadline and how the markets are reacting.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.
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Let's remember the debt ceiling is unconstitutional per the 14th amendment and as with last year the failure to evoke that gave us the unnecessary sequestration and the failure to evoke it this coming year will again mean that your Third Way corporate democrat wants you and I to pay the $14 trillion debt created by massive corporate fraud.

Obama could have brought that $14 trillion down to a large extent by bank settlements that met the crime. He could have used the settlement money they did receive to rebuild the white collar criminal system across America but he chose to protect shareholder interests over public interest. People are understanding the dynamics in the democratic party and will be running and voting for labor and justice candidates in these next elections.

I just watched a bunch of pundits gleefully exclaiming that the "illegal immigrant" vote and minorities helped to beat "that rich guy" and now I'm really going to believe that the Republicans are the problem. These are the "Bush" tax cuts that I seem to remember the Democrats not wanting... Before someone says, "But look what they led to-", get a grip on reality. The Democrats took over the House in 2007 and it only went down after that. Politically speaking, I laughed when people said they would have a better chance of keeping their benefits and pensions with Obama in the white house. He's in his second term and can do whatever he wants. Get ready. Most of you don't realize you would have lived better with McCain or Romney. Sooner or later the cuts are going to come, and when they do: Realize that to the average person in this country, $40,000 dollars a year is considered "rich". Most people don't like their neighbor sitting around collecting a pension, that is more then they make working their asses off, and bragging about it. This is rectified through "Fairness."

The law that Congress passed last year which created this deadline called the fiscal cliff had more than one error... the tax breaks should have had an ending deadline on the Monday before the November Tuesday elections. That would have put some sense into those idiots on the hill. John Carney had it right... a minority wants to throw us all over the cliff. I want the names of all those who got in the way so we can collectively throw them under the bus. Vote the bums out and if they are lame ducks, take away their lifetime benefits... (they should have to stand in line with the rest of us in unemployment!).

Before these interviews begin, do you get together to remind one another that Washington gridlock is just a mysterious existential force and that the word "Republicans" can never be uttered in its context? It's uncanny how you can go on and on about it without once glancing in the direction of the 800-pound gorilla.

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