The latest horror movie from Washington - "The Fiscal Cliff" - finally came to an exciting end in the early hours of 2013.
But after two years did its climax - more taxes, more spending and more chicken-livered can-kicking by our politicians - really shock any of you over the age of six?
Didn't think so.
Spinning the budget deal as a last-minute victory for the American people, the White House and Congress are saying that all the actors knuckled down, did the right thing and created a compromise budget deal that kept the country from going over the fiscal cliff.
Bull. As usual.
The Washington In-Crowd didn't save the country from going over the fiscal cliff, which of course they created in the first place. They just shoved the edge of the cliff a couple of months down the road.
After two years of arguing over taxes, the federal debt, government spending and how to fix the ticking fiscal time bombs of Social Security and Medicare, the professional politicians solved nothing.
They merely did the easy, politically painless stuff.
They raised tax rates from 35 percent to 39.6 on the so-called rich who make more than $400,000 individually or $450,000 as a couple. They extended unemployment benefits for a year.
They extended the Bush-era tax cuts and made them permanent, something even President Obama secretly favored because he knows that ending them would throw the economy into another recession.
But the Washington In-Crowd failed the American people yet again. They didn't reduce the deficit by a single dollar. They didn't create a single job. They didn't cut or cap federal spending. They did nothing about Social Security or Medicare.
The revenues they'll bring into federal coffers with their higher taxes on the rich will be spent by the end of the week. They were so busy doing the easy stuff they never even got around to passing a bill to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Meanwhile, while everyone was watching the chessboard to see how high taxes were going to be jacked up on the rich and successful, Congress shafted the middle class and the working poor by voting to let President Obama's two-year-old, 2 percent payroll-tax cut expire.
The Obamamedia won't be making a big deal out of it, of course, but nearly everyone who earns a paycheck was given a tax hike. According to the Tax Policy Center, about 77 percent of households making between $50,000 and $200,000 will be paying higher FICA taxes in 2013.
On average, starting this week, about $1,600 of an individual's income will again be taken from his or her paycheck annually and sent directly to the bankrupt coffers of Social Security.
President Obama and the advocates of Bigger Government were the winners in our latest fiscal melodrama. Obama set the agenda and he got what he wanted. Republicans who wanted real spending cuts or some semblance of fiscal responsibility got rolled.
In two months, it'll be time for Congress to vote on raising the federal debt ceiling. We'll hear the same arguments and scare stories from the White House and the media about what will happen if we don't allow the Washington In-Crowd to borrow a few more trillion dollars to keep their borrowing-and-spending racket going.
America will find itself being forced to watch another Washington horror flick. And unless voters wake up and the GOP gets its act together, "Fiscal Cliff, Part 2" is going to have the same unhappy ending for conservatives as the original.
- Michael Reagan, the son
of President Ronald Reagan, is a political consultant and author
of "The New Reagan Revolution." He can be reached at Reagan@caglecartoons.com.