On the Fiscal Cliff, Republican Rebels are Right: No Deal is Better Than a Bad Deal - Forbes ......... Much of the Republican behavior on Capitol Hill has been driven by fear of how the electorate will view Republicans if they dont continue to pass temporary tax cuts. But reducing the deficit will have to happen sometime, and whenever it happens, it is likely to have some negative impact on the economy. If Republicans dont want to reduce the deficit two years away from the next election, under a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate, theyll never reduce the deficit. The time to reduce the deficit is now, before a real fiscal crisis emerges, one that makes Greece look like a picnic. By leaving town and letting America go over the fiscal cliff, Republicans dont have to vote for tax hikes that they justly oppose. Economically counterproductive spending, like the unemployment benefit extension, will come to an end. And an enormous amount of irresponsible accounting gimmickry, like the annual wrangling over the Medicare doc fix, will end also. And once Democrats gain their generational victoryreturning to the Clinton-era tax rateswhat case will they be able to make for even higher tax increases next year? Instead, the conversation will move back to what it always should have been about: the fact that the government spends too much taxpayer money, money it doesnt have. A responsible alternative to doing nothing Now all of this is not to say that there wasnt a better policy solution to be had. Raising Medicares retirement age is far preferable to drastically cutting physician reimbursements, and would save more money over the long term. Across-the-board defense cuts are far clumsier than letting the Secretary of Defense propose his own optimized version of the same amount of spending cuts. And Mitt Romneys approach to tax reformreducing loopholes and deductions in exchange for lower tax rateswould stimulate the economy and increase tax revenue. Democrats have vowed to block such measures. But we cant let the perfect be the enemy of the good. A package along these lines should have formed the basis for Speaker Boehners Plan B, instead of the politically expedient tax hike he actually proposed, one that his own caucus could never support. The key for Republicans is to also do the right thing in 2013. Democrats will come back in 2013 and attempt to pass all of their spending priorities, along with the Bush tax cuts for everyone making less than $200,000, and dare Republicans to oppose them. But Republicans should indeed oppose them, unless those tax cuts are accompanied by serious entitlement reform. President Obama has insisted that he would be happy to go over the fiscal cliff in order to ensure that the wealthy pay more in taxes. The responsible thing for Republicans to do is to let him.