Lawmakers from both parties are leaving rhetorical room for a split-the-difference agreement with President Barack Obama on a U.S. budget deal. [...]Considering the election results, and how Democrats won that election on the two prongs of doing away with tax cuts for the rich and protecting Medicare, this is pretty weird. Making it even weirder is the fact that by just not negotiating, by stepping off the curb at the end of the year, tax rates would go up to a top rate of 39.6 without any old people getting hurt.
The top income tax rate could be set at 37 percent or 38 percent, between the current 35 percent and the 39.6 percent rate that will return in 2013 if Congress does nothing. Both parties could accept down payments of revenue and spending cuts in 2013 and overhaul the tax code and entitlement programs next year.
Raising the Medicare eligibility as nothing more than a political gift to Republicans who will repay it with the nothing other than more demands to privatize the program is a bad idea now. It was a bad idea a year ago and hasn't improved with the passage of time. It's also entirely unnecessary.