Walter Russell Mead explains how the fiscal cliff is just another battle in the war between generations.
We see this as yet another sign of the Baby Boom's unrelenting war on the young. Geezers are so tightly organized to defend their pet programs that they are willing to sacrifice everything and everyone else to ensure that not a penny is cut from Medicare or Social Security. Discretionary programs are the things the actually keep the country running, yet they will be the first things to be cut when the government scales back.
It's the national version of the fight we see being waged in many states and cities where public sector unions demand either sky high tax increases or savage cuts in services -- anything so that unrealistic pensions be paid to a generation which collectively failed to create the wealth or invest the assets which could cover those liabilities at a reasonable social cost. It is the Boomer determination to ensure that future generations pay the price of its planning and social policy mistakes -- and it is both shameful and wrong.
Rich boomers don't want to be taxed to pay their share of the collective generational failure; less wealthy ones don't want to lose a penny of the benefits they claim to have earned. It's reasonable for some kind of political compromise to distribute the pain between different wings of this generation, but the generation as a whole needs to pay its fair share of the bill.
A tipping point will come when the oldest members of the Baby Boomer cohort die and the generation eventually loses its electoral power. The middling and younger members of the cohort will be stripped of their benefits faster than you can blink.