Two years, many budget battles and one presidential election later, Washington is right back where it started.

Congress returns to Capitol Hill next week to begin, in earnest, the partisan fight over the “fiscal cliff.” But for all the drama and developments of the 112th Congress, the fiercest dispute of the 2012 lame duck is shaping up to be the same divisive question that dogged the post-election debate of 2010: whether to hike income tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.

Then, President Obama and the Democrats urged an expiration of the Bush-era tax rates on the highest earners as a way to generate federal revenue and cut deficit spending — exactly the same argument they’re making now.

Then, President Obama and the Democrats urged an expiration of the Bush-era tax rates on the highest earners as a way to generate federal revenue and cut deficit spending — exactly the same argument they’re making now.