White House launches full-court press on ‘fiscal cliff’ as talks accelerate: “Private talks between President Obama and top congressional leaders in search of a deal to avoid the year-end “fiscal cliff” are accelerating, even as the White House announced a new public campaign Tuesday to ramp up pressure on Republicans to extend tax cuts for the middle class. . . Obama telephoned House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) over the weekend, in a sign that high-level negotiations are advancing with only weeks to go before an automatic series of spending cuts and tax hikes starts to hit nearly every American. (Washington Post)

“Fiscal cliff’ brings back that campaign season feeling. (Washington Post)

AEI’s James Capretta: How to approach the ‘fiscal cliff.’ (National Review)

Will the ‘fiscal cliff’ break Grover Norquist’s hold on Republicans? “Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge has been a sacred and unchallenged keystone of the Republican platform for more than two decades, playing a central role in almost every budget battle in Congress since 1986. But Norquist and his pledge, signed by 95 percent of congressional Republicans, are now in danger of becoming Washington relics as more and more defectors inch toward accepting tax increases to avert the ‘fiscal cliff.'” (Washington Post)

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Warren Buffett’s mistake: “I hate to pick a fight with the sage of Omaha, but in an otherwise admirable New York Times op-ed Monday that offered a new version of his idea for a minimum tax for the wealthy, Warren Buffett embraced (inadvertently, I’m guessing) spending and revenue goals for the federal government that would kill any agenda for American renewal in its cradle. Because Buffett’s voice is so sane and generally credible — especially with businesspeople and with President Obama — his proposed targets, if influential, could prove damaging. For the reasons I’m about to lay out, I hope he’ll rethink,” writes CAP’s Matt Miller. (Washington Post

“‘Poverty’ like we’ve never seen itThe goal of fighting poverty is no longer about meeting physical needs; instead it has been covertly shifted to equalizing incomes, or “spreading the wealth. Divorced from actual living conditions, the new government report on “poverty” is merely an advertising tool for expanding the welfare state,” writes Heritage’s Robert Rector. (New York Post)

R.I.P. National Greatness Conservatism, 1997-2012: “Politically speaking, conservatives didn’t have much to be thankful for this November. After President Obama’s re-election cakewalk, 2013 looks like a rebuilding year, a time for “soul-searching” by GOP leaders and the conservative intelligentsia alike,” writes Cato’s Gene Healy. (Washington Examiner)

Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas: As Mayor Bloomberg and everyone else keep reminding us, Superstorm Sandy packed an economic and fiscal wallop. But Sandy didn’t create City Hall’s economic and budget problems; it only made them a little worse. Bloomberg shouldn’t allow Sandy to distract him from what was already his task for his very last budget as mayor: tackling the mess that existed before Oct. 29. Yesterday, Bloomberg tallied up the Sandy damage to Gotham: $19 billion. That number includes $5.7 billion in lost “city product” — money that people didn’t earn or spend in New York because they were waylaid by the storm. (New York Post)

Room for Debate asks: The New York Times recently noted that “tens of billions of tax dollars have been spent on subsidizing coastal reconstruction in the aftermath of storms.” Critics of this spending say that it props up a a costly and deadly habit: rebuilding in places that are becoming uninhabitable. Should the federal government stop helping to rebuild properties in areas vulnerable to natural disasters? Would it make sense for the federal and local governments to buy such land, to prevent future loss of homes and lives? (New York Times)

Victor Davis Hanson: Winning the Latino vote. (National Review)