To all those worried about the fiscal cliff, let me assure you that compromise will happen. Compromise and government growth is a natural occurrence in Washington.
The token cuts the op mentions here are cute, but a drop in the bucket. The interest we pay on the deficit alone trumps what is mentioned in regards to congress entitlements.
A gov't / congress that cannot cut the trivial stuff, will never fix the big problems. I'm less convinced that a big fix is how you start than ever, just because big fixes require tremendous political will to avoid being cluster fudges. Political will, like real will power, needs practice to be built up.
Best thing Congress could do is make straight forward simple changes.
Step 1: make an across the board cut to every gov't expense of 5% against baseline - including ALL federal welfare benefits
Step 2: pass budget line by line force members to make a yes or no vote on each discretionary expenditure
After that we should have sufficiently learned the will to fix the whole thing.