If the fiscal cliff deal passed by the Senate this morning makes one thing clear, it's this: "The era of the Big Deal is over," writes Jennifer Steinhauer in the New York Times. President Obama and John Boehner met numerous times, and so did other bipartisan groups, yet "the grand bargain remains the elusive holy grail of fiscal policy and seems destined to stay that way for now." The president and other lawmakers have admitted as much, and at this point they seem resigned to accomplishing only incremental steps.
But there's a big problem with that: Every month, "a new battle emerges and legislative Band-Aids are affixed to fiscal gunshot wounds." Even if the House approves the Senate's deal, a series of other fiscal cliffs loom down the road, not to mention the numerous other bills that will be punted to the next Congress, including a farm bill, transportation bill, domestic violence prevention measure, and a Hurricane Sandy disaster relief bill. "Doing business in pieces may end up a productive formula—in the sense that walking 100 miles will still transport a person absent an airplane or a bus—but many outside Congress do not think such halting forward motion should be confused with actual success." Click for Steinhauer's full column.