This evening the news in Washington about the "grand compromise" will be revealed. Just in time to meet the deadline.
The origin of deadline began as a real line in the dirt - restricting prisoners in the Civil War. "Cross the line and you're dead".
I saw the movie "Lincoln" recently and the politics of this "fiscal cliff" look remarkably similar. History seems to repeat itself manifested in different contexts in today's modern ideology chasms. There will be minority of people that will realize this deadline may mean the difference of financial life or death.
This deadline was manufactured by the politicians. The new politics is to avoid permanent decisions and instead create laws that sunset into the future - putting the "monkey on a future generation's back" (e.g. Bush tax cuts that expire; sequestration of spending cuts; fiscal debt ceiling etc.)
So expect a decision tonight - to move the deadline, and move the monkey to Congress #113 (12 new Senators, and 67 new Representatives).