Good luck getting a handle on fiscal cliff talks

Wall Street opened sharply lower this morning on discouraging comments about the budget talks - and then suddenly turned around on encouraging comments about the budget talks. Crazy thing is that some of the same people were sounding discouraged and then encouraged about the budget talks. Dow finished the day up 107 points, but just give it time: The fiscal cliff gyrations seem to change like the weather (not unlike last summer's European debt talks). Hollywood's classic "Nobody knows anything" line really seems apt here - except Hollywood has nicer-looking players. From Barron's columnist Randall Forsyth:

The days leading up to Dec. 21 -- when members of Congress are planning to get out of town for the Christmas break -- are certain to be filled with cliffhangers similar to the contrived crisis ahead of the debt-ceiling fiasco of the summer of 2011. Winston Churchill famously observed that Americans can be counted upon to do the right thing after they have exhausted all alternatives. But even sane solutions to stave off what the Congressional Budget Office has said would be a certain recession from hurtling over the fiscal cliff would not be pain-free.

Frankly, I'm not even sure that's on target. But in the absence of a vacuum, people will say a lot of things.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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