This piece by Jamie Dupree is the best summary of the fiscal cliff deal I have seen. Read it and weep. Basically, the deal cuts taxes significantly (against the cliff baseline) and increases spending somewhat (if tax expenditures are counted as spending). The worst aspects of the bill are undoubtedly the one-year extensions of numerous corporate-welfare tax expenditures. The deal does nothing to reduce the large and growing federal structural deficit. The sequester is delayed by two months, which should result in another round of negotiations over replacing the sequester and adopting budget cuts to offset the increase in the debt ceiling that will have to take place by then.
From a traditional Republican perspective, the fiscal cliff deal is a good one, as it cuts taxes significantly. Of course, the traditional Republican perspective is wrong, because the only real tax cuts are spending cuts. Thus, from a limited-government perspective, the deal is a bad one, and the House should vote it down. Certainly, significant, immediate fiscal contraction is undesirable, but a better deal would give the Democrats more statutory tax increases in exchange for eliminating the extended tax expenditures and doing something, however small, about unsustainable entitlement spending. The pols should be sent back to the drawing board.