The so-called fiscal cliff has politicians in Washington performing the political equivalent of a soap opera as they leave the country in suspense about whether they will manage to resolve a self-inflicted crisis in time to avoid a recession next year.

Day after day, we hear about fruitless meetings, press conferences and announcements of the latest offer by the White House or Republicans, followed quickly by a rejection of that same offer by the other party, sometimes accompanied by gales of laughter.

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