The fiscal-cliff fix: Winners and losers

Nobody loves the deal eked out to save us from dropping off the fiscal cliff, but some people still came out looking pretty good

President Obama makes a statement after the House passed a bill to keep tax cuts for Americans making less than $450,000.
(Image credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

At 11 p.m. on New Year's Day, the House cleared a Senate compromise to pull the American economy back onto the ledge of the fiscal cliff, raising marginal tax rates for households earning $450,000 or more, extending unemployment benefits and a series of tax breaks for low-income and middle-class workers, and pushing back a scheduled series of deliberately punitive spending cuts for two months. It wasn't a pretty resolution to an ugly fight, but it likely kept the country from careening into another recession and prevented a big tax increase for more than 98 percent of taxpayers. Miffed House Republicans almost sunk the deal, and some liberals are upset that President Obama didn't use his leverage to exact more concessions from the GOP, but almost everyone agrees that another big fight is looming in the wings. Technically, "the question of who 'won' the fiscal cliff won't be answered till we know what happens when Congress reaches the debt ceiling" in a month or two, says Ezra Klein at The Washington Post. But it's not too early to look at who won Round 1 of the fiscal cliff fight. Here, a look at who came out smiling and who is grimacing after the fiscal cliff battle:


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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.