I'm far from the first one to point this out, but if there's anything this fiscal cliff "crisis" teaches us, it's that nobody really cares about the deficit. Yeah, everybody understands that long term, we can't indefinitely grow the national debt faster than the economy as a whole. That would be bad. Eventually. Sure.

But short term? If anybody really believed that we have a short term deficit crisis and that budget austerity is the surest path toward prosperity, well, the fiscal cliff is the mother of all austerity policies! Increase revenues and cut spending—you can't address a budget deficit more directly than that. And the only thing Congress needs to do to implement this deficit reduction policy is to do nothing.

But of course, that's not what anybody really wants. The Democrats don't want to go over the cliff because their Keynesian sensibilities rightly tell them that now is the wrong time for fiscal austerity, and the Republicans don't want to go over the cliff because their Randian ideology tells them that the only moral economic policy is to cut taxes on the wealthy while cutting services for the poor.

But neither side could really give a shit about the deficit. At least, not short term. Nor should we.