Can we all just agree that it would be far better to go over the cliff, roll the dice on surviving the bright lights of the blame game for a few weeks (odds looking good), and then come out the other side with the "Bush tax cuts" dead and gone, once and for all??
I don't pretend to know every tiny detail of the austerity bomb/fiscal cliff/slope whatever it is that's coming, but I certainly know this: after midnight on December 31, if we do nothing, the infernal Bush Tax Cuts will be no more. They will expire, as they were always designed to do, and be replaced with Clinton-era tax rates across the board. Whether or not we then replace those with something else (and one assumes we would, at least those for the middle class), the "Bush" part will be dead forever.
I would certainly LOVE to be able to stop saying the word "Bush" in reference to something that we as a country ostensibly like and value. It's a travesty that it's gone on this long. I'd be fine letting more rates than just the upper brackets return to Clinton-era. But whatever -- the pols will duke it out, the pundits will have their say, pollsters will weigh in, various negotiators will get the best they can for their side, and the matter will be settled one way or another.
I'm just voting for a cliff dive to rid us of the Bush reference. Whatever new rates exist in 2013, they'll be the work of President Barack Obama -- a Democrat -- along with a Democratic Senate and deeply divided House (led by, one expects, Democratically whipped votes courtesy of Nancy Pelosi). Let them be exactly the same if they need to be. Fine. But let's try to make the cosmetic change of referring to them as the "Obama Tax Cuts" from that day forward. That's what they'll be, and Democrats will deserve the credit for them.
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One more thing: for those much smarter than me, are there tweaks that could be made to the tax rates that would further differentiate them from their Bush predecessors? Another expiration date? Permanence? Changes in distribution, etc.? Anything else to guarantee that commentators don't just lazily refer to them as another "extension of the Bush tax cuts" for another X years? Just curious.