But a small one is absolutely necessary.
I have argued elsewhere about the need to move the country to the left and to not compromise with the out of touch with reality "bubble" right. But the challenges of the wingnuts aside, the problem with the "fiscal cliff" (automatic across the board spending cuts and tax increases) or any "grand" compromise is that the economy is too fragile to absorb a major change in our economic structure right now. Leading economists and the Congressional Budget Office agree that anything but a token compromise now will crush the recovery. Krugman was right. The stimulus was not big enough and to raise taxes and cut spending now will be disastrous. The fiscal cliff or a grand compromise will destroy the work we accomplished last night because we will have another recession and the Republicans will sweep away everything in 2014 arguing that the economy collapsed because we did not cut government spending enough and raised taxes.
We need to kick this can down the road until the economy gets stronger and work as hard as we worked on this election to change the House. So a smaller compromise could look something like this. Raise the debt ceiling enough to cover the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years. Mandate 15% of the across the board "fiscal cliff" spending cuts in the 2015 budget if the 2015 budget does not have equivalent cuts. Extend the current tax structure for one year. Finally leave the bigger fiscal cliff in place but put it off until the 2017 fiscal year.
We can't afford to not work with the House. But I bet they are willing to kick the can down the road; this solution has always enjoyed bipartisan support in Washington. Yes we need to address the deficit, but with a Democratic House. The deficit has four main causes, the Bush tax cuts, the Bush wars, the Bush prescription drug additional Medicare benefits, and the Bush recession. President Obama is already addressing three of these things and addressing the tax cuts can be put off for a year to reach a compromise on this issue. Trying to reach a grand compromise or allowing the fiscal cliff to occur would be a disaster, both in terms of trying to address the deficit, and in turning the Bush recession into the Obama recession.