1. The "fiscal cliff" was a bipartisan fabrication by corporatists.
Republicans and corporate Democrats, including Obama, colluded on this Shock Doctrine scam last spring. They deliberately orchestrated it to use Social Security as a hostage to pass an austerity deal and to garner praise for the participants when the contrived axe of SS benefits did not fall...this time.
The important point here is that they rigged the game to ensure that the country accepted a policy that they would never have voted for...austerity for the masses...and they made sure that it was in the package no matter the outcome.