Republican legislators are now signaling that, like President Obama, they are willing to adopt a "balanced approach" to avoid the fiscal cliff. That means they are willing to talk about hiking government revenues in the short term for "promises" of cutting government expenditures in the long run.
Between 1980 and 2011 inflation-adjusted, year-over-year government expenditure declined four times -- 1987, 1993, 2007 and 2010 (using OMB figures in 2005 constant dollars). So why exactly would anyone expect Congress to really cut spending down the road if it has shown essentially no ability to rein in spending in the near term?
Recently I saw a quote that summarizes the left's current philosophy on the economy: "We need even more taxes and punishing regulations. We need to treat these people like the scum they are, and if they don't want to watch their companies burn, they'll yield and finally expand their businesses and create more jobs - and not make any more profit or get richer when they do that, because we find that highly annoying. We've had enough of your sickening greed, business owners, so give us everything we want, and give it to us now."
The "balanced approach" never seems to balance.