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As December flew by, many pundits predicted that Congress’ failure to resolve the automatic tax hikes and steep spending cuts that were scheduled to take effect on January 1 — otherwise known as the ill-named “fiscal cliff” — would lead to a weakening of the country’s economic recovery. Every news story reporting on the fiscal cliff focused on the gridlock among lawmakers as the final hours of the year ticked by, much to the frustration of the citizenry. Maybe because so many of our leaders are, in fact, lawyers, watching the story unfold reminded us of some of our best and worst habits that we resolve to improve upon in 2013.

Deadlines Exist for a Reason

Because they set the fiscal cliff deadline themselves, Congress and the White House knew for months before December 31 that significant discussions, debate and compromise would be necessary to reach a deal on the tax and spending cuts and other issues tied into avoiding our fall off the fiscal ledge. Yet, it was only in late November that both sides sat down to begin a dialogue and did not reach a deal until the deadline was about to expire in the last hours of 2012 (which was not voted on until the early-morning hours of 2013). Sound familiar?

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