Last-minute tax deal getting thisclose?

Fiscal cliffs are to pocketbooks what tsunamis are to beach chairs.

With the countdown running out of numbers to county, this whole mess is stickier than pine tar.
Call it gallows humors, but Barack Obama was almost giddy today when he brought a group of middle-class families to the White House for a televised address in which he declared that a last-minute tax deal was “within sight…but it’s not done.”

The optics were obvious, to show actual Americans who would be hit by a tax hike averaging $2,000 if Congress didn’t salvage a compromise.

The president told jokes and bantered with the assembled citizens.
And he also took a jab at Congress, saying it never did anything until the “last second.”
That crack didn’t play well on Capitol Hill, with a Republican backlash threatening doomsday.
While the rest of us are gearing up for New Year’s Eve parties to drown our financial woes, it seems that talks between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have agreed to raise taxes on incomes above $400,000 or $450,000, extend unemployment insurance and limit increases in the estate tax.

But as Obama noted, the tentative package does not deal with deep automatic spending cuts, and that is what is holding up the process. The Democrats want to block those cuts for a year, and the Republicans are balking.
Can’t these folks ever agree? Perhaps they should party together today and hammer this out over a few drinks.