by Barry Bennett
At 9:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, after almost a year of Congressional avoidance and posturing, we skidded to a stop at the very edge of the fiscal cliff. Or at least an agreement of sorts was reached. Having averted the possibly catastrophic alternative, we can look back from the edge and marvel at our political system’s astonishing ability to turn the trivial into the phantasmagoric, as it did when it debated which tiny number of Americans—families making over $250,000, $600,000, or $1,000,000—should be subject to a modest tax increase. The magic figure of $450,000, together with various other compromises, led to a deal at the not-quite eleventh hour.