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I was going to publish this earlier, but held back with the news that the House GOP may blow the whole thing up.  However, after Markos's new front page diary where he states "The ONLY leverage Democrats have in this fight is tax rates," I feel like this is worth posting:

There is a lot of outrage on our side for "giving up leverage" and not tackling all of the major fiscal issues facing us, like the debt ceiling and sequestration, and instead focusing mainly on the tax cuts portion of the deal.  Here's what I don't understand:  For the last month, isn't this exactly what our side has been advocating for?

Post-thanksgiving, those of us on the left, from the president, to labor, to progressive organizations, and this website, had all been advocating for Congress to "extend the middle class tax cuts now." The President used the bully pulpit to call for the House to vote on the Senate bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for those making $250k or less. Nancy Pelosi tried to force a discharge petition through the House to force a vote.  We were all asked to sign petitions and call our Congressperson to demand that taxes for the middle class be extended first, outside of the framework of the rest of the deal.

The logic for that was simple.  If we extend the middle class tax cuts, two things are accomplished: 1. We take a significant part of the cliff worries off the table, which is that there were going to be major tax raises on the middle class and the poor.  2.  We gain leverage because we just got one of our major priorities accomplished, which was to raise tax rates on the rich without having to deal with anything else in the deal first.

Both of these things gave us some protection if we went over the sequestration cliff, since it wouldn't be the big combination of factors that could push us into recession.

Now, as a side note, keep in mind that the Senate bill we were asking the House to vote on was only a one year extension of the middle class tax cuts. So instead of making the rates permanent, we would have kicked the can down the road till the end of this year and had to deal with more drama all over again.

Flash forward to yesterday: a deal emerged between the Vice President and Senate Republicans to handle part of the fiscal cliff, particularly on taxes, outside of dealing with the bigger issues.  What did this deal include?  We did give up one major concession, which is to increase the Bush Tax cuts for the first $450k of income instead of 250k income that we would have gotten under the Senate bill we've all been pushing.  But we also got a heck of a lot of other stuff in return.

We extended unemployment benefits for a year without having to give an offset, we extended research and development tax credits for things like wind energy another year, while extending stimulus tax credits for lower income families another five.  We also got the Medicare doc fix patched, so reimbursements don't get cut by 27%, the AMT patched, oh yeah, a freaking FARM BILL EXTENSION PASSED (which I have heard very few people mention, but is as huge a part of this deal as anything else).

So in order to get everything mentioned in the last paragraph, we compromised on the tax rates.  How much did we really give up in terms of actual revenue?  The answer is, not that much.

Again, the Senate middle class tax cut bill was only for a year, so it would have generated less revenue in an apples to oranges comparison. Let's make it an apple to apple comparison, and we would have extended them permanently. That would have generated about $700b in revenue over 10 years.  How much did we end up getting in the tax cut deal?  About $600b. So we ended up getting 85% of the original revenue we were aiming for.

Say what you want, but getting 85% of your original target in any negotiation where you don't hold all the cards (and despite what some may think, we don't.  We don't control one of the three chambers, and until we fix the filibuster, we don't have full control over the second), is pretty damned good.

So now that we have this deal in place, everyone has changed their tune.  Extending the middle class tax cuts on their own went from being our goal to being a bad thing.  It went from something that strengthens our hand to something that weakens it? How and when exactly did this happen?  Are you really going to tell me because we get 15% less revenue than we originally wanted that it went from a great idea to a bad idea?

We still have to deal with sequester.  We still have to deal with debt ceiling. We were still going to have to deal with those even if we passed the Senate middle class tax cut bill.  

These are things we are going to have to deal with, but in whatever deal we make, it's also going to be an opportunity to raise more revenues.  

No one knows exactly how those negotiations are going to go, but the blueprint laid out in the mini-sequester deal was a pretty good one.  It called for reducing the sequester by 50% new revenue, 25% defense cuts and 25% domestic spending. That's a pretty good blueprint moving forward.  The President backed up this blueprint by holding that press conference before the vote letting Republicans know that if they vote for this deal, it's not all she wrote on revenues, and that 1:1 is the ratio he expects going forward on deficit reduction.

Many of you here believe the President will cave (which for some appears to mean not getting 100% of everything he asked for). Maybe he will, maybe he won't. My money is on getting most, but not all, of what he asks for going forward, but no one really knows.  But conceding defeat before those negotiations even begin is really crappy political strategy.

I'm not saying the debt ceiling/sequester fight will be easy.  It will be another shit show, going to the 11th hour, taking our country to the brink of default.  But guess what? Be prepared for a lot of those over the next two years that the lunatics are still in charge of the House of Representatives.  We're going to have government shutdown threats, more farm bill fights, and more fights on anything where the Republicans think they can use the well-being of the American people as a bargaining chip.

All this could be for naught if the Republicans go through with blowing up the deal. But if we get the deal we cut in the Senate, we are ahead going into the second quarter of a game with a lot left to play.  Taking care of the tax cuts first was what we have been advocating for all along, and we should celebrate if it gets taken care of, not mourn it.

4:36 PM PT: Thank you all for putting this on the rec list. I appreciate all of the comments, even those that disagree with me.  I wanted to respond to one area of disagreement (I'll elaborate on this in a diary tomorrow), which is those that are still insisting that without tax cuts, we have no leverage.  I have to say that I don't believe that's true.  The defense cuts in the sequestration is very much leverage.  I would venture to say that Republicans care almost as much about those as they do the tax rates for the rich.  They hate the idea of those cuts so much that they are attempting to amend something which should be a conservatives wet dream: Drastic spending cuts with no new revenue.  So that is still a very real piece of leverage.  

7:23 PM PT: Top of the rec list? I'm honored that my words touched a cord with so many of you.

 A couple of more quick updates: Despite all their bluster and drama, the House of Representatives is showing itself to be increasingly irrelevant. I don't see how they function as a caucus that does anything but follow the Senate's lead, when they can't even get their own proposals passed through their caucus.

Second, it's important to point out that these "tax increases" are not the only ones going into effect this year that Obama managed to get passed (assuming the deal goes through) on the wealthy.  The ACA 0.9% Medicare Payroll Tax and the 3.8% investment Medicare surcharge go into effect for wealthy taxpayers.  And that's at the 200/250k levels.  So in his first term, the President will have managed to have passed two separate tax increases on the wealthy.

8:17 PM PT: The House passed the Deal 257-167. it's going to be law.  Even if you were unhappy with the deal, you would be more productive to getting the most favorable deal possible for the next cliff by focusing on lobbying for what you want to see accomplished in that one, rather than lamenting this one.


Originally posted to smash artist on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 02:41 PM PST.

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  •  Great post (40+ / 0-)

    I can see everything you're saying and I find myself agreeing with it.  My concern is not the deal itself.  It's how the White House handled the negotiations.  I am concerned about the new definition of middle class taxpayers, but I understand that $250,000 was a difficult lift for people in Congress including many democrats.  However, I'm concerned about future negotiations.   Personally, I would rather have seen the fiscal cliff happen, which would have taken away the immediate deadline and would have allowed for a stronger path for democrats towards a larger scale deal that covers all the areas---taxes, spending, sequestration, the debt limit--that republicans would exploit.  Obama has a limited time frame to tackle a host of big issues.  The republicans are crazy enough to force this one self-created crisis for many months just for the perceived political gain.  They hate Obama that much.

    •  The problem is the cliff is very real (114+ / 0-)

      If we go over it, even for a short time, it hurts a lot of low income people.  Paychecks get smaller, 2.1 million lose unemployment, milk prices skyrocket, etc.  So I would like to get those issues resolves before it starts to hurt working people.

      The 1:1 path forward for revenue vs. spending cuts for the way forward is reasonable, and more generous to our side than the 1:2.5 plan Obama proposed by the campaign.  Let's win this battle, and keep fighting the war.

      •  The substantial harm and short-term suffering (41+ / 0-)

        people would faced from going the cliff, until we fixed those problems from a powerful negotiating position pales compared to the unimaginable suffering that will be caused by the massively larger cuts that will be required in this deal which make permanent 88% of Bush era tax cut, which will allow government spending at around 18% of GDP under the most optimistic of assumptions.  We currently spend 23%.  

        Without the leverage of the expiration of Bush tax cuts how to you suggest or expect us to influence John Boehner to relent on his promise to extract a dollar of spending cuts, for every dollar extension of the debt ceiling.

        When you see the numbers I expect you will be dumbfounded.  Democrats have just voted to adopt the George Bush vision of government instead of returning to President Clinton's models.

        As presume that in future decades which sufficient human suffering from the loss of the substantial fraction of our social programs we may be able to change public sentiment and perhaps regain control of all three branches of government, but it is likely to be substantially greater grim suffering than going off the cliff

        And suffered by hundreds of millions over decades rather than 2 million for one year.  A bad deal indeed.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:34:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unless the Republicans continue to do nothing. (10+ / 0-)

          Which could appen from a strategy point of view or as a function of the way their party works now. Every bodies taxes go up. Which hurts middle and low income people so much more. Of course the 2million getting extended UI will continue to suffer as well. Probably even worse since even Krugman agrees going over the cliff will destroy the fragile economic recovery. As will the inevitable downgrade that will come with the debt ceiling debacle. How long before people who now think we can pay for entitlements change their tune because of the economic burdens they face. In the meantime, the rich, who are not risking important money to them, wait. How much suffering do you think our side will take before they cave to public pressure to do something?Sure, the rich want taxes down and entitlements to be cut. But they can wait (starve) us out.  

          I do understand your logic. Except it presumes people like the Kochs are playing a short game and can be effectively squeezed faster than the rest of us.

          "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

          by stellaluna on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:56:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  On the issue of "permanent" (30+ / 0-)

            tax laws. NOTHING is permanent in tax laws. NOTHING.  There is not a constitution for tax laws, nor a bill of rights.  

            The only "permanent" thing about this tax deal is that it doesn't have a sunset date on it.  Doesn't mean it can't be changed.

            I'm not saying yay or nay to this bill, it's too complex for me to be sure either way, frankly. However, it is NOT a fact that saving the unemployed, veterans, farmers, wind farmers etc, for now, makes decades of suffering in other ways a fete accompli. Simply not true, and the product of a historical lack of perspective.

            "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

            by StellaRay on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:57:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hi Stella, is this in response to my comment? (0+ / 0-)

              Because I think we agree.  I also agree that saving those who are most imperiled at the moment doesn't mean we are doomed forever not the change the tax structure. What worries me is that there is a path for the GOP to take that makes the public much more amenable to tax cuts for the wealthy and cuts to entitlements. That is one that destroys every bit of progress we've made toward recovery, that raises taxes on the 98%, that doesn't provide for the unemployed or  the poor. And that could be to simply do nothing. All they lose is tax cuts for the rich (until we are willing to do or believe anything to get progress) and cuts to defense. Which is spending they can vote on at any time.

              I am worried at the cavalier attitude toward the people and economy that are imperiled by "going off the cliff/curb". This deal could have taken them out of the hostage group. Now the President has a lot more riding on a failure to make a deal. I'm not in favor or against either.  I just don't think the answer seems so easy.

              "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

              by stellaluna on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:21:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Deal is bad (0+ / 0-)

                because by making the tax cuts permanent (i.e. non-expiring) on everyone below $450,000, Obama is giving victory to the GOP on their strategy of "starving the beast" by cutting taxes to force reductions in entitlement benefits.  I just posted a diary on this issue here

                The diarist is right that The Deal at $450k is a small compromise from the initial bargaining position of $250k, but the biggest consession Obama was in the hidden terms: whether the tax cuts (on $250k or $450k and below) would be "permanent" or would they expire at some unspecified future date.

                The democrats would be in much better bargaining position if the tax cuts were set to expire at some future date (like 2 years from now).

                Is it crying over spilled milk? Yes, but it's my party and I'll cry if I want to....

                •  Not true. (0+ / 0-)

                  The main point of Obama's "remarks" late on New Year's night was that we aren't finished with raising revenue, that future installments in debt reduction will have to be balanced between revenue increases and spending cuts.

                  This is probably the most feasible strategy to oppose the shock-doctrine tactics of the right. If every dollar cut from spending means someone has to pay an extra dollar of taxes, then the slashing and burning of government will be less draconian than the demands of the bloodthirsty right. And the President will get public support for this strategy -- and possibly even the support of the Beltway, with its love of equivalence (even when it's false).

                  "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

                  by NWTerriD on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:34:46 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It might as well be permanent (3+ / 0-)

              Look at the massive, prolonged fight over a small tax increase to just the "wealthy" (whatever definition you want to use).  That should have been the easiest, lowest-hanging fruit available.  A no-brainer and it even had popular support.  And yet it was almost an impossible task to get done.  Does anyone think that a real increase in taxes to the middle class is going to be able to happen any time in the foreseeable future?

              The only way taxes are going to be able to go up on the middle class is in stealth ways, not the income tax rate.

            •  True to a point (0+ / 0-)

              but now the tax issue is off the table, but the debt ceiling is still unresolved.

              The President should never have agreed to any deal without demanding an exension of the debt ceiling.  An automatic tax increase gave him leverage that he needs badly.

              In the end I think this is a bad deal.

              The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

              by fladem on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:27:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Big business won't want a debt ceiling default (5+ / 0-)

                Only idiot tea baggers want that. Corporate America wants the US to be solvent and pay its bills. That hostage taking exercise keeps flopping for the GOP and I think abusing it will be another huge division that will fracture the Republican Party. As of yesterday corporate America knows it must do business with Obama and that their party has become unreliable.

          •  Are you willing to trade your SS for the UE (12+ / 0-)

            because that is the trade we are making and next year when we are here again, we will have nothing to trade.  You need to put things in context and that is the context we are looking at....this is a long term deal, not a short term deal like previous negotiations and it is a long term deal that damages the entire country.

          •  I'm not intending to be cavalier about your check (15+ / 0-)

            PLS, but if I heard you agreed to sell both of your kidneys, or give up the possibility of getting unemployment checks for yourself and hundreds of others to get more for a few months I would be concerned about your logic.

            Do you doubt that we had to cut 3% of GDP out of social spending for decades and for all people will cause substantially greater suffering for hundreds of millions which is just as worthy of compassion as the loss of 30 weeks or so of extension of unemployment might for 2 million.

            But, this alternative doesn't require even require than, as I believe after going off the cliff for even a few days, if Democrats had remained firm we would have received cooperation from sufficient GOP to pass Unemployment compensation, the Doctors fix, and the 250,000 middle tax cuts.  

            I just read a RedState front pager say the same thing.

            But, several trillion of dollars of reduced government spending is going to be a much bigger challenge and cause substantial suffering.

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:06:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wow ... one whole RedState frontpager? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
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              Why do we have to cut 3% of GDP out? Where is this number coming from? Why can't we remove the SS contribution cap?

              •  "Why can't we remove the SS contribution cap?" (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Panama Pete, caul, Smoh, Aquarius40

                because the votes aren't there, the Republicans still control the House....just maybe...huh?

                "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism." -- Carl Sagan

                by artmartin on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:12:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The Social Security Trust Fund is separate from (6+ / 0-)

                the government budge and is solvent through 2034.  But I think removing the SS contribution cap, or raising it by 50% or something is a great idea.  My understanding is that this just a 15% or so increase could extend solvency out to 2070 something.  This isn't the problem.

                Check out the analysis Jeffrey Sachs wrote up a few days ago, which you can find reviewed in my archives from yesterday or maybe the day before.

                His analysis indicates that this level of tax cuts leave us with tax revenue of equal to about about 16% of GDP.  He thinks improved tax revenues from improved economic growth will get it to 18% of GDP, (Gross Domestic Product - an measure of aggregate economic output, which is an easier way to keep track of things than the absolute numbers which are constantly changing.)

                Our current spending is at 23%.  But, winding down the wars in  Afghanistan and Iraq and other cuts already in the pipeline could get us down to 21%.  This gap of 18% 21% is about 3% of GDP.  

                If we had let the entire Bush tax cuts an everyone expire it would have represented 2% of GDP but been unfair to the middle class.  What many progressives, including me, thought "our" plan was was to using this automatic accomplished fact to negotiate more progressive increased tax revenue of an approximately equal amount so we could spare the middle class from going back to the tax rate they paid under Clinton. (Which worked fantastically well.)

                Such things as a cap on tax deductions over $50,000, closing corporate loopholes, eliminating tax incentive for storing profits and income in offshore accounts etc.

                Now, I really have no idea of how we close the gap.

                Oh, we can, and have run government spending higher than revenues by running continuous deficits, and which accumulate into debt.  We currently run a deficit of $1.2 trillion and a debt of over $16 trillion, which as Paul Krugman points out is not as big of a problem now as lack of employement.

                However, the House of Representative has control of the debt ceiling which we have just hit a few days ago meaning we can not borrow any more.  Treasury can juggle the books and shift around payments to buy us 2 more month of wiggle room but we need to negotiate an extension on a yearly basis with John Boehner and the House GOP.  He has said not more unpaid for debt.

                Every dollar of debt extension must be paid for with a dollar reduction of government spending.

                Had we not given away the automatic nature of the Bush  tax cuts we could have offered a year of extension of them, for a year's debt.  Now I have absolutely not clue what our President's plan is.  

                And, now that he has consistently caved in every negotiation, the GOP now expects us to agree to chained  CPI cuts to Social Security, which Obama already offered, and raising the Medicare age to 67, plus additional cuts that add up to $1 trillion.    

                And, they plan on doing this every year until government spending is down to 18% of GDP which means most of our social spending will be gone.  Or as Sach says the "unravelling" of the New Deal and Great Society programs.

                I've been asking for anyone to explain to me what our alternative is but have received no serious explanations.  

                Even the President's most ardent supporters, which usually includes me, are awaiting some plausible story we can tell and start positioning for.

                The best hope now is that Republicans will be so shocked by the magnitude of their victory, they will realize cuts of the magnitude they've have been demanding and now have the power to extract would be so devastating to our economy in terms of recession or even depression, that they back off some.

                But, I'm an older generation of Democrat who does not like depending on the kindness, compassion, and wisdom of right wing Republicans for common sense and mercy.

                 

                The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

                by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:16:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry, where in this bill did SS get cut? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aquarius40, Jake Williams
            Are you willing to trade your SS for the UE
            Or are you one of those guys on this site with the power of foresight where you can see the future (and wouldn't you know it, it's always of Obama caving).

            If Obama and the Dems eliminate SS completely, put DADT back into place, name Dick Cheney Secretary of State and start work in a Death Star we can attack them for it when they do it.

            If you're just seeing into the future, please get to work divining next month's powerball numbers so we can use the money to donate to Democratic causes.

            When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

            by PhillyJeff on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:25:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly (30+ / 0-)

          HoundDog.

          When you see the numbers I expect you will be dumbfounded.  Democrats have just voted to adopt the George Bush vision of government instead of returning to President Clinton's models.
          This deal makes almost all of the Bush tax cuts permanent.  Republicans have been trying to do this for more than a decade.  They want to force cuts to entitlement programs and keep taxes low, too low to sustain society as we know it.  It will force severe austerity policies.  

          The tax increases were very small on the wealthiest few and considering that much of the income for them is via investments, it does not raise much revenue and they are still in pretty good shape with estate and capital gains taxes.

          It's a disastrous deal.  And the worst of it may be yet to come -- it's a set up for it.

          Whatever the precise numbers, the White House unilaterally and permanently gave away more than 2 percent of GDP in net revenues, all in the name of symbolically "taxing the rich" and "protecting the middle class." The pending agreement would raise taxes very slightly on the top 1 percent of households, perhaps by 0.3 percent of GDP, while making permanent well over 2 percent of GDP in Bush tax cuts.
          [...]
          Second, yesterday's deal if approved by the House will make it impossible to get to 21 percent of GDP under any alternative scenario, and perhaps even to 19 percent. The Republicans will now block any attempt to raise revenues as a share of GDP and the White House will have no leverage. Obama is now a lame duck even before being sworn in for his second term, and he will have brought the Democrats down with him.

          The White House should have put forward its own tax plan with adequate overall revenues. It could have told Congress to adopt the alternative plan or simply accept the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. That was the time for negotiating leverage. Instead, the White House gave up the revenues permanently and without a fight.

          With a revenue baseline of around 18 percent of GDP, there will be years of harsh spending cuts ahead. What will they be? Medicaid? Food Stamps? Roads? Water? Renewable energy? Education? Pre-School? Environment? It will probably be "All of the above."

          Jeffrey Sachs


          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:56:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if it's not hurting you (22+ / 0-)

          in the short term, it's easy to stand back and tell someone else that they need to suffer for your bigger long term principles.

          Fortunately, the President has to address everything and everyone's needs and try to do what's in the best interest all around.

          •  Best interest for only this year (7+ / 0-)

            or for several years?

            We all know that a) UI will be threatened in 2014, '15, '16 etc, and we should all know that States are ending it anyway in many cases based on the (thoroughly false) unemployment figures.

            I lost my NYS extended benefits on Dec 9, as the "official" unemployment rate went below the triggering threshold. Paying my rent in February is going to be a close run thing, and only if I get a job.

            Many who have unemployment extensions will never see them. And all who need them will be threatened again and again and again until the Republicans learn that they can't take hostages and do anything but lose.


            The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

            by Jim P on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:40:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  For me it would be ok (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bronxist, Anokris, Smoh, NWTerriD

              To think in terms of 5,10, or 20 years down the road.  But there are enough people that won't make it more then a month without those extensions.  So basically if they can't make it past 30 days then seeing things a year later doesn't help them at all.

              If at first you don't succeed, vote Teapublicans out and try again. You have to be persistent if you want anything out of life.

              by Final Frame on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:45:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  My sympathies are completely (9+ / 0-)

                with people who will lose benefits. They are me.

                Keeping context in mind, though, there's between 9-12 million people who've already exhausted benefits and not found even short-term work to get them back on the UI merry-go-round. These are just dropped from the Unemployment Rate calculations and into deep poverty and the memory-hole.

                So the meta-issue is the curious lack of discussion about how to get jobs for all these people. (Me too!) Our Political Class doesn't even seriously discuss this, though you'd think people wanting votes would make that an in-your-face priority 24/7 and for the last 4 years.


                The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

                by Jim P on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:53:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  So if all of this is true then why do Republicans (3+ / 0-)

          suddenly agree to switch positions in a few days or a few weeks.  A commenter below says the actual revenue for this tax on the wealthy is essentially negligible as Their tax savings comes from other parts of the tax code such as a lack of significant transactional tax.  In another comment I see that the country is dependent on the taxes from the middle class and lower in order to support entitlements at a reasonable level and that any tax reduction to everyone will have to include cuts to social programs. So my concern is that while this seems easy on paper...that is, that the GOP will suddenly decide they care what the electorate thinks and will vote for extension of the UI, and the earned income credit, etc.  And then will become reasonable on the debt limit because of taxes for the rich (which we won't agree to) and defense cuts. Actually, as I type I realize I'm not really clear why the Republicans will suddenly start acting significantly different from the last four years. And that is what worries me. That we have given up any kind of actual governing and are now trying to show we can play political brinksmanship better than a party of insane people.

          "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

          by stellaluna on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:28:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Obama leverage on debt ceiling (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            artmartin, sewaneepat, stellaluna

            Stellaluna,

            Re: your question:

            why do Republicans suddenly agree to switch positions in a few days or a few weeks
            There is a good argument that wealthy individuals and financial institutions will now swing to pressuring Republicans to not seriously threaten the debt ceiling.

            See:
            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            •  Won't they do that anyway then. Even without (0+ / 0-)

              worrying about this other deal?  They were willing to let it happen 18 months ago. And I just don't see the tax rates for the top 2% and military cuts to be enough to change a GOP policy that's been set in stone 4 years. And all of the arguments about how we can just do a separate bill for unemployment or earned income credit apply equally to them. If its so easy to get a separate agreement later why can't they just refuse to deal with us unless we do drastic cutting and then pass their tax cuts and military spending later?

              "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

              by stellaluna on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:28:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Mental bandwidth of rich is limited (4+ / 0-)

                like that of everybody else,

                so removing their hot-button issue of tax rates, while narrowing the focus to debt ceiling & sequester,

                will enable more of the rich to focus on the fact that they have the most to lose from undermining the credibility of US government T-Bills.

                Of course none of this means that we are in a good place, but it does mean that we may now be in a better place than if we had let the Austerity Bomb (AKA Fiscal Cliff) explode.

                •  I appreciate you responding to me about this. (0+ / 0-)

                  What you say makes sense. Without this deal I think we've left too many hostages out there unprotected (whom this deal did protect). Post cliff, If the rich are patient the suffering caused by higher taxes, failing economy, no UI, etc. will create a demand that would make it easy for our side to capitulate. Hopefully you are correct and their greed will supersede their patience. This is why I am ambivalent about the cliff/curb strong talk of jumping over (or exploding, as you say). The people who will suffer immediately will be quite a burden for our side to carry going into discussions if we don't get this deal.

                  "Speak the TRUTH, even if your voice shakes."

                  by stellaluna on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:55:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sydneyluv, stellaluna, gramofsam1

                  If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the stock market will crash and the wealthy will lose much more than the extra they pay in taxes.

                  And the extra they pay in taxes under this deal is fairly significant. Not only the increase in the marginal rate, but the 5% extra they pay in capital gains and dividend taxes (which amounts to a 33% increase) and the phasing out of personal exemptions and limits on itemized deductions. Add to that the 3.8% tax on investment income from the ACA. That adds a good bit to their taxes. And the increase in the inheritance tax to 40% adds a bit more.

                  You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                  by sewaneepat on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:59:33 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  You ain't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          artmartin

          nothing but a hound dog. Elvis and me know you are correct 100%. It's sad that people cant see this clearly. Excellent comment.

          "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between" Oscar Wilde

          by angry hopeful liberal on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:26:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Capital gains, dividend taxes (0+ / 0-)

          Do they stay at Bush levels, or do they revert to Clinton rates?

          •  As I understand it, they rise for incomes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            caul

            above $250k, not $450k.  Not sure if they match Clinton rates, I think they're somewhere in the middle.  I'm OK with the $250k cut-off as I think, in the last 20 years as pensions have faded away, a lot more people are potentially exposed to this.  Of course, I think we're better off in a pension model, but unfortunately we lost that fight a long time ago.

            "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

            by auron renouille on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:53:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Capital gains taxes rise, dividends fall (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Arun

            Long term capital gains taxes were at 15% - they will go back to 20%, which was the Clinton era level, for higher income taxpayers.

            One of the Bush tax cuts introduced the concept of qualified dividends.  Prior to the Bush tax cuts, dividends were taxed at ordinary income rates.  The Bush tax cuts gave them the long term capital gain rate, so they were taxed at  15% as well.  

            The fiscal cliff deal maintains the concept of qualified dividends and gives them the long term rate, so they are now at 20% as well.  Therefore, it is an increase from the Bush rates, but a decrease from the Clinton rates.

            Also, remember that the Affordable Care Act imposed a 3.8% surtax on net investment income, which includes most long term capital gains and dividends.  As a result, the effective tax rate for most high income individuals on this income will be 23.8%, which is higher than Clinton era rates.

        •  Tell those families losing UI benefits how their (3+ / 0-)

          suffering isn't really important.

          "Sorry guys, it sucks you can't feed your kids but we need to win the Sunday shows!"

          If we get more Dems elected in 2014 we can raise rates again or do all manner of things. We don't need to get EVERYTHING WE WANT immediately.

          That's how the Republicans moved this country so far to the right. They chipped away and chipped away. If we actually try to make some incremental gains instead of attacking our own side for only getting 85% of what we want we might actually get to hold power for more than 2 years.

          When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

          by PhillyJeff on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:23:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Ummm....Milk prices? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vetwife, artmartin, myboo, caul

        Are they also dealing with the Farm Bill?  Isn't that what the milk problem is about?

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:08:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  When did having nearly $1/2 millon / year income (47+ / 0-)

      ...become MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS???

      For that matter, when did $1/4 million / year income become MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS???

      I am really tired of the faux San Francisco / Manhattan / Boston oh-woe-is-me-my-family-only-makes-six-plus-figures argument.

      My rant has nothing to do with whatever number is eventually settled on for permanently extending MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS tax cuts.  My rant is about what's considered MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS.

      If you're making $1/4 million per year, and you're not getting along quite, quite well, you really need to take a hard look at your life choices and understand the difference between "wants" and "needs".  You are not MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS or even UPPER MIDDLE FUCKING CLASS at this income level, you are upper class.  Period.  End of discussion.

      Sorry, just had to get that off my chest.

      "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

      by Richard Cranium on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:02:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  if $450K is the new "middle class..." (29+ / 0-)

        Shouldn't ALL of that income be subject to FICA?

        Why hasn't there been ANY discussion of raising the FICA cap, now that Obama wants to "tweak" Social Security?

        -8.88, -9.59 In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. -Tenzin Gyatso, H.H. the Dalai Lama

        by BobSoperJr on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:08:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  thank you! (6+ / 0-)

        middle class for a family of 4 is certainly less than $100,000 even today:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        These are the numbers we need to start talking about to be serious in the affairs of the nation.

      •  Excellent Point! Isn't it interesting how (7+ / 0-)

        "geographical location" almost never comes into play, regarding government benefits 'for the poor.'

        IOW, it doesn't matter where you live, when determining the monetary amount you qualify for in food stamp program.  

        From what I understand, what you receive depends on 1) your income, and 2) the numbers of dependents you have [and that was restricted as great deal, years ago].

        It is shocking that so-called progressives rarely raise their voices to this nonsense!!!

        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:19:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not so much. Most benefits are set state-by-state. (3+ / 0-)

          Including the degree of poverty one must be in to qualify for them. That's even true for Medicaid benefits, which I think is deplorable. Shows what "states' rights" will get us.
          SSI benefits are the only federal ones that I can think of that are not contingent on one's state of residence.
          I am certain someone will correct me if I am mistaken, and I will watch for that.
          Lest I be misinterpreted, I'd like to make it explicit that I think all so-called poverty programs in the U.S. are far below an adequate level, and that there should be adjustments in multiple arenas to bring everyone up to a reasonable, healthful, sustainable income (which would be at least 200% of the current official poverty level, and probably more).

          Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

          by peregrine kate on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:53:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I'll see if I can locate (2+ / 0-)

            the video from C-span's Washington Journal call-in show, with a representative from the federal SNAP program.  The episode was filmed several years ago, and the SNAP representative indicated that the SNAP program was based on federal guidelines, to the best of my recollection.

            Now, the TANF Program (what is the so-called "welfare benefit" of days gone by, IS a "state-based" benefit, so to speak.  [TANF is the "cash assistance program," which is virtually nonexistent in many states, because level of benefits offered is left up to the states, in regard not only to the amount of the benefit, but "who" qualifies, with only very loose federal guidelines.]

            And, regarding SSI, there is a "federal" SSI program, and SOME, BUT FEW STATES offer a "state-funded" SSI benefit.  The state I reside in does not, but a handful of states offer an additional state-funded SSI benefit.

            I don't claim to be expert on any of these programs.

            However, I try to be accurate.  So thanks for raising a question about SNAP.  If I can't find the C-Span video, I'll try to clarify your points using another resource.

            Certainly, if it is a "state-based" benefit, and I misspoke, I stand corrected.  And I will correct my post, to the best of my ability.

            Thanks again.

            “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:53:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Looks like you are right re SNAP; (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Phoenix Woman

              here's the federal webpage on eligibility requirements.
              There must be some sort of monitoring relative to the purchasing power of SNAP funds in different states, but in any case I'd be confident in saying that the level of assistance provided is not sufficient no matter how low the cost of living in any given state. (To say nothing of the problems of food deserts, etc., in poverty-stricken areas, urban or rural.)
              So yes, you are quite right in your original comment. I took it to be a more global statement than it was--regarding government benefits for the poor--rather than as being limited to the so-called food stamp program.

              Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

              by peregrine kate on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:13:24 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you for checking this out, peregrine kate. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Phoenix Woman

                I needed to finish up on another thread, before I searched for the video.  

                So far, I haven't located it, but sometimes it takes a while to locate very old videos.  I'll post it in this thread, if I can find it, 'cause it really was fairly informative, especially for a call-in format.  The SNAP program speaker was really articulate and focused.

                Anyway, you are spot on that "but in any case I'd be confident in saying that the level of assistance provided is not sufficient no matter how low the cost of living in any given state."

                “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:26:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  ROFL......Loved that one Richard !!! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        glorificus, Actbriniel

        We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:22:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Even worse (4+ / 0-)

        That $400k, and even the $250k, refer to AGI. So, the reality is that these folks are making significantly more than that.

        It's ridiculous.

      •  I live in Manhattan and I agree. (4+ / 0-)

        If you cant make it on $250k per year, there's something wrong in your life.

      •  Sounds like a lot, but it's not... (8+ / 0-)

        I'm the first to admit I'm lucky. My husband and I make a good living and we're able to provide for our family, but I resent the notion that our choices are the results of "wants" and not "needs." Let me explain... My husband and I both quit our teaching jobs about 15 years ago to go to graduate school--he became a doctor and I am now a professor. So, yes, we chose to go to graduate school and we took out signficant loans to do so. We are STILL paying for our student loans--should we not have dreamed for graduate degrees--is that a "want," or a "need?" And why does Mitt Romney's version of a "need" become a "want" when it's people like us? Why should a graduate degree be seen as a luxury--everyone should have the choice to get a graduate degree--wouldn't you agree?  So, with over $100,000 left in student loans, our so-called high salaries are not all that. I still teach--which is a nothing salary, even though I have a Ph.D. He gets more, but because he chose to treat getriatrics patients, he gets FAR LESS than you'd think a big-time cardiologist or neurologist would. He's an internist whose ENTIRE patient-load is on Medicare--which already paid less than other insurance companies and he's now going to get a 30% pay cut from those patients. So, a good doctor, great at his job, will probably have to stop treating the elderly because of this Medicare crappy deal. Was he wrong to want to work with these patients? He's the ONLY board-certified geriatrician in the county--a rural county in Kansas. They will have NO ONE if he quits. They'll piece together family practice docs to fill the gap, but he is specially trained to deal with their needs and their families, but we can't afford to take a 30% pay cut and still keep paying our bills.  We also have a daughter who was born missing several permanent teeth--just about all on the top of her mouth, requiring over $50,000 in dental work--implants are a FORTUNE!! We're lucky that we could figure out how to cover these expenses, but we had to take out two loans to do it. We are still paying for that. Are her teeth a "want" or a "need" in your book? We kind of thought the kid would need to eat and chew her food! This same kid is now in college herself, so we're paying for her to attend state school--are we wrong to think of this as a "need?" She's not in private school. We couldn't afford it. So, give me a break! Again, I'm lucky that we could at least scrape up the money to help her and that we can take care of our family, but I'm sick and tired of people thinking that just because we worked our asses off and have a decent living, that we haven't (AND DON'T CONTINUE) to pay our fair share--and P.S. WE'RE WILLING TO PAY MORE!!!! We lived on NOTHING during graduate school--drove raggedy cars and sold our old clothes to make money. We were extremely poor, so I get it. But we are not the Romney's or the truly wealthy. My husband cannot afford to pay the taxes for his medical practice this year! He can barely afford to hire a nurse practitioner to help, and again, his patients will now be paying him 30% less than the lousy Medicare payments they were paying.

        We are just on the other side of $250,000, and again, we are lucky, but that goes fast when you have student loans, a MODEST mortgage (Kansas is relatively cheap), medical expenses, college tuition, etc. You and I on the same side, and we were and are willing to pay more, but don't paint everyone in this tax-bracket with the same, broad brush. Everyone is just trying to make it...

        Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

        by langstonhughesfan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:16:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No - you've made choices (5+ / 0-)

          With the exception of your child's medical condition you made conscious choices. And it's not for me to (nor will I) judge those choices.

          Your income is NOT middle class, despite your expenses.

          "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

          by Richard Cranium on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:56:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your original post was quite judgmental... And I (5+ / 0-)

            don't care what economic class I'm assigned to--the point is that you shouldn't make assumptions about anyone in any class--which you did. I never said I was middle class. I only said I'm trying to provide for my family like everybody else, and that I'm stilling to pay more than I already do. You just want to think that anybody making over $250K is somehow the enemy. We're not.

            Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

            by langstonhughesfan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:14:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  *still willing (0+ / 0-)

              Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

              by langstonhughesfan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:18:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Are you sure your AGI is over 250K? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                itsbenj, Brooke In Seattle

                Even so, let's say your AGI is 260K, you'd only be paying extra tax on 10K worth of income and even at that the increased tax is only a few percentage points.

                It is ridiculous to think that someone with 250K of AGI is not wealthy.

                The agreed upon $400/450K is a joke.

                •  There's wealth, and then there's wealth... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Heart of the Rockies

                  We're lucky. I have said that. And I have said we will pay whatever extra is required--all while seeing a 30% DECREASE in Medicare payments that doctors like my husband will now receive. But it's also ridiculous to think that people in our boat don't carry a lot of debt for any number of reasons that are not at all the result of high-flying and jet-set living. We are on a tight budget because we took out student loans to pursue graduate school. We don't live large by any stretch. We need a new roof as I type this. So, if we have to take the crap--and I mean CRAP--Medicare "doc fix" cut, I sure as hell don't want our taxes to go up too! The image of the rich doctor is a FANTASY! And it's pisses me off that fixing Medicare means reducing payments to doctors like my husband whose only patients are on Medicare. He may have to quit serving them and get a job working for The Man to pay off our student loans. Right now, he's a sole practitioner with a lot of taxes to pay. He doesn't make enough to get the Romney-style breaks, believe me!

                  Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

                  by langstonhughesfan on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:47:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That Medicare decrease to your husband's (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sydneyluv, Brooke In Seattle

                    payment you keep mentioning IS NOT HAPPENING!

                    We also got the Medicare doc fix patched, so reimbursements don't get cut by 27%,
                    I would expect someone in the field to be much well better informed than you sound, seriously.  It's right up there linked on this diary.

                    Plus, you're arguing that $250,000 + in rural Kansas isn't much? Are you for real?
                    San Fran and NYC have some credibility on discussing how far $250,000 can go because of incredibly high rents, but Kansas?
                    RURAL Kansas?  Give me a break!

                    "...I just want you to know there are BILLIONS of us rooting for you..." Sir Paul McCartney

                    by eden4barack08 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:03:01 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yes, I am happy to be mistaken about the medicare (0+ / 0-)

                      doc fix, thank you for pointing it out, but this is an ongoing threat. But you are indeed correct that it's not happening and I was wrong to use it this time around in my argument--and more due diligence was required on my part. But to be more specific, my husband's practice treats patients in rural Kansas, but we live just outside of Kansas City--not in a rural community at all. I also said that our mortgage was reasonable, but we have other expenses (debt) because of graduate school and medical costs. I also pointed out numerous times that we are lucky and that we are willing to pay more. I'm not quite sure what else you expect? Give ME a break!!!

                      Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed...

                      by langstonhughesfan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:13:38 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  langstonhughesfan, I hear you on the student loan (3+ / 0-)

              issue.  I had $100k to pay off at the end of residency training and the big consolidated loan took 10 years and cost $1600 per month.  I referred to it as my 2nd house payment--it was about the same amount.  

              Unfortunately, the talk of tax rates on earned income misses many factors that go towards whether a person or family unit is wealthy or not, like existing assets or indebtedness.  A trust fund baby who has use of a family beach home and jet but works part-time making $25k per year and only has to worry about purchasing their own food is not "wealthy" when only considering yearly earned income.

              •  The shadow of college loans (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                langstonhughesfan

                I have a graduate school room mate who took out huge loans to go through medical school.  She is still repaying them, and her oldest 2 children are now in college themselves.  She also sees hospital administrators and insurance executives making a lot more than she does, with a fraction of the training and responsibility.

          •  Blame game (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            langstonhughesfan

            If we start basing our discussion on life choices, we might be able to make a case that everyone near the poverty line is there because of bad life choices.  Even if that's true, I don't think any of us want to go there.

            I agree with langstonhughesfan's summation.

            don't paint everyone in this tax-bracket with the same, broad brush.
            Just as we shouldn't paint everyone in much lower tax brackets with the same broad brush, as the Republicans are wont to do (bad choices, lazy, etc.).
        •  You can definitely afford more (3+ / 0-)

          paragraphs. Hard to read without the paragraph breaks.

          The Fierce Urgency of Later

          by Faroutman on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:19:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What about the daughters born to people (0+ / 0-)

          on the other side of 250K?

          I am glad you could afford to give your daughter the best. I am glad you worked hard for your dreams. But you still get painted with the same brush, because you are still the same color. You think you deserve your daughter's health because of the choices you made, instead of thinking you deserve your daughter's health because you're human beings. And as long as you think that, you're the same color as them: green.

        •  Doesn't the "deal" include... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sewaneepat, langstonhughesfan

          ...a Medicare doc fix?

      •  When income inequity became such a huge problem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sydneyluv, Heart of the Rockies

        in this country that the purchasing power of 1/4 million per year income dropped.

        Note, this is not an argument for saying that tax rates at this level should not go up. I believe they can can and should. But it is arguing that the class terms should have some sort of meaning outside of raw percentages because those percentages will never change. There will always be an upper 10%, an upper 25%, and upper 1%, a lower 10% etc. It is very important to look at the gaps between and how they change over time because that is where the income inequity, IMHO, becomes very visible.

        So I think the top 5% to top 2% range (or top 10%, whatever) and really even the bottom of the 1% range are upper middle class. They're comfortable, but the upper middle class should be comfortable. The middle class should be comfortable. In a healthy country, the entire range of the middle class should reasonably be able to own a home, support children, not worry about how to afford sending kids to a college of their choice, not worry about a short-term medical issue, afford vacations. People should not be worrying about paying off student debt through their 50s, being bankrupted by an accident or medical issue, how to afford childcare, etc.

        To me, to be meaningful upper class, an income needs to be able to provide more than a comfortable living. It needs to provide a degree of excess. And I think it's important that we are all aware of how very few people in this country currently even make a comfortable living all so that the slim percentage of people making excess continue to make buy-political-offices degree of excess.

        Again, that's not to say that anyone should be crying for or worry about those in the comfortable range or that tax rates shouldn't be raised on them. It's just to say let's not lose sight of how bad income inequity is and that pretty much anyone who has a non-executive level job is on the butt end of that stick.

      •  I live in the SF Bay area and I agree... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        phoebesdatter, Brooke In Seattle

        ...with you.

        The meme that's been flying around the media the last few days about $250K being "not that much" in CA and NY is total BS.

        I'm in the East Bay, not SF proper but, I'm a (single) technical professional with 20+ years in my industry, own a home (with mortgage), and my AGI is roughly half the $200K figure that is being bandied about.  I'd be swimming in cash like Scrooge McDuck if my AGI was actually in the $200K range.

        This seemed like a deliberate effort in the media to conflate income with wealth and also to confuse gross earnings with AGI or below-the-line earnings.

        Anyone who makes $250,000 to $450,000 in net income next year, after deductions (individual/family) or after expenses (business) will be doing really, really well -- even here.  That's not "middle class" let alone "working class".  Let's call it "executive class" or "ownership class".  Yes, housing is the highest expense here, but there is a wide distribution of options, even within SF (the city) proper, so I don't have much sympathy for the top 2%, of which I am nearer to being a member than the vast majority of workers in the Bay Area.  I am blessed and have no problem paying for the infrastructure and expenses that are part of living in a civil society.

        By not capturing a more progressive tax on those who are, let's call them comfortably wealthy vs. uber-wealthy, we simply set ourselves up for more revenue shortfall and more demand on the working class to "give back a little more" on "entitlements".  We need a broad distribution of taxation, progressive across mid- to upper- incomes as the math otherwise doesn't work.  

        (If you taxed the ultra-uber-incomes at 100% there wouldn't be enough of them to bring in the revenue needed, but they certainly should be generously taxed.)

        It's the band of incomes between the middle and the "uber-" where a modest progressive rate will do the most good in recovering the revenues foregone in the past decade and I'm sorry but I can't define $400K net per year as "middle".

        Bringing the actual corporate tax revenue inline with supposed rates (close the loopholes) and bringing military spending down to earth would certainly help too.

    •  I don't see how 400k becomes a "new definition (8+ / 0-)

      of middle class." This is a patch, not a comprehensive tax reform package. They just created two tiers of rich where there was only one before.

      Enough? No, but it's not etched in stone. It just gets us to the next trench.

      "Every now & then your brain gifts you with the thought, 'oh, that's right, I don't actually give a **** about this.' Treasure it" -- jbou

      by kenlac on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:02:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry. Maybe I missed something. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dclawyer06, sxp151

        But didn't they make these tax cuts permanent? If it passes the House, doesn't that constitute more than a patch? I'm not being facetious.....if I'm wrong, I'll breathe a sigh of relief.

        •  Well, I could be wrong too (0+ / 0-)

          but I was under the impression this had a yet another "kick the can" component and we get to do it all again in another couple of months.

          "Every now & then your brain gifts you with the thought, 'oh, that's right, I don't actually give a **** about this.' Treasure it" -- jbou

          by kenlac on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:31:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sequestration cuts (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WheninRome

            are pushed off for 60 days. The debt ceiling negotiations hit around the same time. We've already hit it on 12/31 but Geithner said he can fiddle with things to buy another two months.  

            The rest of the deal makes almost all of the Bush tax cuts permanent.


            "Justice is a commodity"

            by joanneleon on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:01:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  It depends on the provision (0+ / 0-)

            Some of the tax provisions in HR 8 are "permanent" in that they do not automatically sunset the way the Bush tax cuts did.  They will continue indefinately until affirmatively amended by Congress.  These are primarily the rate changes.

            Some of the tax provisions do have sunsets, however - there are a number of extenders in there that will go away, mostly by 2014.  These include some short term stimulus provisions that came in in 2010, including bonus depreciation and 179 expensing (I can explain those if anyone cares)

            There is a third set, primarily the EITC Credit and some other credits, that have a 5 year extension.

      •  And nothing is "permanent" about this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        artmartin, Aquarius40, S F Hippie

        A lot of people are using that word as short-hand for "doesn't expire". But no tax rate is permanent ever. They can always be changed in the future.

        Yes, it is hard to get anyone to vote for a tax hike, but it can be done and has been done in the past. But it takes a comprehensive effort to educate people as to the necessity of such a hike. Once you get the people behind it, the legislators will fall in line.

        The idea that this deal, or any deal, is the deal is one of the biggest lies of this whole process.

    •  Many people do not understand low income credits (22+ / 0-)

      and how important they are.  These are the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child tax credit, plus one for college.  These are very important to  low income working people.  They require passage by Congress.  This plus unemployment benefits are largely what raising the 33% bracket was traded for.  Those are also the people who will be hit if the SS wage cap goes up.  I agree the dividend rate should have been raised more, but at least dividends and cap gains rates went up 5%.  And the Farm Bill extension and clean energy tax credits are important.  There are things to like and things to dislike.  Perhaps we will see what the alternative is if the House crazies kill the bill.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:24:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Many people here don't truly understand low income (14+ / 0-)

        and what it's really like to live on these credits and benefits. Hyperventilating about 'checkers v. chess' means nothing to those of us who are focusing on food, shelter and warmth.

        Thanks for getting it, Mimikatz.

        Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

        by earicicle on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:34:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe not... (3+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          milkbone, According to Fish, venger
          Hidden by:
          Aquarius40

          But we do understand that a less progressive income tax structure in general benefits the wealthy and hurts the poor.  In the short term some people may suffer if some of these programs expire, but in the long term the middle class and the poor are going to suffer far more because of the broader impacts of this deal.  

          And what's really sad is that Obama ran twice on allowing tax cuts over $250K to expire and he didn't accomplish it once.  Obama is a fucking chump.  

          •  I do not like you being disrespectful to the (6+ / 0-)

            president. Run for office yourself if you are so smart.

            I don't mind he extended unemployment payments twice.

            Regarding "the long term", if the "middle class and the poor" get their act together and elect better people as legislators they may save themselves.

            **Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does** h/t Clytemnestra/Victoria Jackson

            by glorificus on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:03:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The changes make the Code (0+ / 0-)

            more progressive vis the Bush era rates, although not via Clinton era rates.  I know that many think that the Clinton era rates were the ones that we should be measuring against, but so long as we have a Republican House and no filibuster reform in the Senate, the GOP was going to find a way to peel those back, probably as part of the debt ceiling negotiations.

            I think that the Pres is now in a weaker position as a negotiating matter having separated the debt ceiling and tax reform, but I don't think that we would have gotten out of the entire fiscal mess with the Clinton era rates, whether now or in 2 or 3 months.

    •  Obama is jamming (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      am4, sxp151

      the Democrats on this bill and will jam them on the next one.

      That one will include the chained CPI and Medicare & SS age increases. I have listened to over this past week from Ed Rendell, Joe Sestak and others how the Democrats will need to share in the pain. They both have talked up the chained CPI and raising the age requirement for Social Security and Medicare. And they are the just tip of the iceberg.

    •  How should the WH have handled (21+ / 0-)

      the negotiations instead?  I happen to think that the WH knows what and who they are dealing with.  They know up front what they are willing to put on the table, which are the things that some of the Progressives are going ape shyt over.  I think they weigh the choices and have decided that they had to go with protecting those people in our country who are the most vulnerable and that's the very poor.

      The very fact that we have to continually have these terrorist negotiations is because the Obama White House is dealing with people who just don't negotiate period.

      I do understand the frustration that many progressives here have with the White House, but I don't know why anyone here would presume that these folk deal in good faith or that they would even want to.  They lied, cheat, re-draw Congressional districts and even try to stop people from voting.

      Our problem is not with Obama.  Our problem is within Congress and what has happened at the state level.

      That is what needs to be fixed.

      •  You know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Final Frame

        I'm beginning to think that everyone thinks these negotiations are just another episode of Pawn Stars. Obama should be Rick but progressives think he's Chumley. (psst I happen to know a guy.....)

        "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

        by high uintas on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:13:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  guaranteeing the very poor a long career (4+ / 0-)

        as hostages.

        Basically, progressives think Republicans are bluffing.  

        Republicans don't want Bush's tax cuts to go away.  They don't want military funding to get cut.  And they absolutely don't want to be the ones responsible for cutting SS, Medicare, & Medicaid.  They know, that even in their heavily gerrymandered districts, that would be political suicide.

        The very fact that we have to continually have these terrorist negotiations is because the Obama White House is dealing with people who just don't negotiate period.
        Then there shouldn't have been a negotiation!  Sometimes, when you're backed against the wall, you have to deal.  But, as I explained above, this was not one of those times.
      •  The focus of the rage needs to be re-directed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        artmartin, sewaneepat, Aquarius40

        The more energy spent railing against Obama and the Dems the less energy their is to defeat the real enemies in the process.

        At least, that is true unless you believe that Obama and the Dems secretly want to do everything the Republicans want to do but aren't because, ... , well I can't figure that one out.

    •  Great post (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blugrlnrdst, sewaneepat

      I totally agree!!

    •  A lot of poeple are saying this but I don't really (5+ / 0-)

      get it.  They're saying they aren't so unhappy with the results they just don't like how we got there.  What?

      What matters is the results.  Style points don't matter.

    •  There have to be some adults in the room (4+ / 0-)

      Obama and the Democrats (and Republicans in Senate) have been the adults in the room.

      How all of us would have loved to go over the cliff! How sweet! Such schadenfreude in the face of GOP misery that all tax rates returned to Clinton-era levels! I know. The bright flame attracted me too.

      But the downsides were huge. A disgusted public. Spooked markets. International concern that this country can't govern itself. And Republicans even more dangerous because they hadn't even a fig-leaf to pretend the White House had given something up.

      The last time the House and Senate voted to raise the top tax rate to 39.6% was in 1993 under Clinton. It passed by one vote in the House and Al Gore had to provide the clinching vote in the Senate. Yesterday's Senate vote got almost 90 Senators on board; when the House vote is held, I'd guess a significant portion of the House GOP will be on board. It's a huge victory.

      We were never going to get everything we wanted. Obama started from position that I want rates above $250,000 to go up and I just won an election. House GOP started from position that national debt reduction had to come entirely from cutbacks (preferably domestic) and we just won an election too. They didn't meet in the middle. The White House got most of what it wanted.

      My reading of this deal is that people who earn  $40 to $45,000 or less annually should be thrilled (tax cuts maintained; Earned Income Tax Credits; child care credits; unemployment insurance coverage) and those earning  $400,000 to $450,000 or more are entitled to be pissed off. And no offsets from Social Insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. What did we lose? Tax rates on inherited estates is the only thing I can see. What's not to like about that picture?

      The debt ceiling as another hostage-taking opportunity down the line? Perhaps. But Obama's said he won't negotiate over that. So, let's cross that bridge when we come to it -- and we'll be coming to it with a slightly more Democratic House.

    •  The White House has not lost its leverage (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vernonbc, sewaneepat

      because the current sequestration plan targets Defense budget as much as other federal agency expenditures. I agree with most of this diary...

      The defense cuts in the sequestration is very much leverage.  I would venture to say that Republicans care almost as much about those as they do the tax rates for the rich.
      In fact, the White House and the Democrats essentially got the bulk of what they wanted in this first round: (a) income tax increases on the affluent, (b) middle-income tax cut without a sunset clause, (c) unemployment benefits extended for another year, (d) retained the earned income credit for low-income taxpayers, (e) kept milk prices from rising, (f) made no concessions on entitlements... and other minor items, like Medicare payments, etc.

      Yes, they kicked the can on the sequestration question for another two months or so... then the GOP's debt ceiling leverage may come into play, becoming a potential toxic financial mix...

      But so what?

      In my opinion, it is a much exaggerated "crisis", especially made by those who wish to find major fault with the current WH-brokered compromise. With Defense budget slated for big cuts, let's see if the Republicans will have much stomach to play further brinkmanship games again.

      My guess is that they will crumble and fold...

         

      "The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. It was a small part of the pantomime." Wallace Stevens

      by mobiusein on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:08:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You have no clue (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sewaneepat, FloraLine

      how the White House handled the negotiations.  You have the PUBLIC version of how he handled the negotiations.  Obviously, FROM THE RESULTS, he handled them (in private talks and probably screaming sessions) pretty damned good.  

      The fiscal cliff would have hurt, maybe killed, lots of Americans.  If you weren't one of those targeted by that hurt then your personal preference to see it happen needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  I'm sure that was the President's take.

      "A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism." -- Carl Sagan

      by artmartin on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 10:09:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  sometimes, if you want to win, you have to make (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mwm341, sewaneepat, Aquarius40, merrywidow

      the other side THINK you are losing - or, are a poor "negotiator"

      it worked!  our side squealing loudly made it appear that the dem position was even weaker.  in the meantime, as smash points out - 85% of what the dems wanted!  not bad, imho, not bad at all

  •  You note the key difference between the deal (28+ / 0-)

    proposed by progressives and this deal.

    Now, as a side note, keep in mind that the Senate bill we were asking the House to vote on was only a one year extension of the middle class tax cuts. So instead of making the rates permanent, we would have kicked the can down the road till the end of this year and had to deal with more drama all over again.
    The two aspects of "permanent" versus one or two years which I would have been find with are several orders of magnitude difference in the size of the compromises, and secondly the concession of nearly all of our Democratic bargaining power.

    By caping the size of government revenue to 16% or even the benefit of the doubt 18% Sachs grants this deal, while current government spending is 23% and giving up any remaining leverage all power now rests with the House GOP to dictate how much spending reduction will be required to achieve every years extension of the debt ceiling, which Boehner as made clear a dollar of reduction for each dollar of extention..  We need $1.2 trillion per year, and he's also said it will not come from defense, which many Democrats agree.

    Say goodbye to the New Deal and Great Society programs. This is why Grover Norquist is delighted and says this deal accomplishes 88% of what Bush and Reagan failed to accomplish in their "starve the beast" programs.'  

    For details see With tax revenues of only 18% of GDP we can not sustain government spending of 23% GDP - Cuts ahead I review Reject the Deal, in which Jeffrey Sachs argues we are on the verge of locking in Bush era maximum tax revenues of 18% of our gross domestic product, GDP, while our current government expenditures are 23%. Sachs suggests Democrats are about to commit the blunder of a century requiring savage cuts to our current government spending equal to 5% of current GDP, which will be cuts of approximately 22% of current government spending -- accomplishing the goals of the extreme right-wing of the Republicans Party of unraveling the New Deal and Great Society programs which had been beyond the reach of even Presidents Reagan and George Bush.

    President Obama just unilaterally gave away the last chance in the forseeable future for Democrats to raise sufficient revenues to sustain Democratic social spending, perhaps for decades. Meaning we will now have no choice, ands no bargaining power to avoid giving in to truly massive and unprecidented cuts to social programs well beyond anything anyone has imaged, as in the largest unraveling of the New Deal and Great Society programs in history. ... The public has not been told that yesterday's agreement threatens the financing of crucial programs for education, job training, infrastructure, environment, energy, science and technology, health care, nutrition, and the poor for years to come.

    Here are the simple facts. Government spending today is around 23 percent of Gross Domestic Product, including 13 percent for mandatory transfer programs (Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, veterans benefits, military retirement, and others), 2 percent for interest, 4.5 percent for the military, and 3.5 for civilian programs. Taxes are around 16 percent of GDP, but would probably produce around 17-18 percent of GDP in a more robust economy.

    Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire today would have raised tax collections by around 2.5 percent of GDP, to around 21 percent of GDP by the end of the decade, thereby allowing the government to pay its bills assuming that the useless wars are ended and the bloated Pentagon budget is brought under control. The Obama-Senate plan will instead keep taxes at around 18 percent of GDP. The CBO will soon "score" the new tax plan; Democrats will be shocked at what the White House and Senate have given away.

    I need more time to research all the different points of view, but I can't see anything wrong with Sachs analysis. And, all I an find from Vice President Joe Biden's rationale is his assertion to Democratic Senators that this bill is better than going over the cliff. It appears this proposition needs substantially better analysis. I welcome different points of view but I am now hoping the House GOP rejects this, and we can start over.  

    This bill will leave us powerless to opposed massive cuts to government spending many times as large as sequestration.

    Those favoring the bill should explain how we are going to get the GOP to agree to an additional 3% of revenues, and perhaps a 2% of GDP reduction of defense spending (about 44% of current defense spending), in order to preserve social spending.  Doesn't seem plausible.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:03:52 PM PST

    •  How would going over the cliff have fixed this? (17+ / 0-)

      Help me here.  The revenue difference between the two proposals is about 16%, which is irrelevant to Sachs' argument.  So the deal makes no difference from that standpoint, right?  In that case, there's no reason to consider his analysis as decisive either way: we're still going to have to increase taxes at some point.

      This, however, makes a significant step towards getting us through 2013 -- stacking the sequester on top of the debt ceiling threat is at most adding a grain of sand to a tonne of gold -- and makes Republicans either shoot themselves in the head or makes them vote to increase taxes.

      •  For what it's worth (4+ / 0-)

        Sachs' argument depends on going back to all Clinton tax rates -- including significant increases on the middle class.  Now, those increases would, in fact, have returned us to relative solvency, particularly once Afghanistan is resolved.  But I want you to think about what that would mean to Obama's campaign promises to not raise taxes on the middle class.

        •  How are we and the President going to explain the (5+ / 0-)

          magnitude of the impending cuts to social programs that are upcoming in the debt ceiling?

          I agree we needed a short-term transitional device but believe we could have achieved that with a one or two year extension of the Bush tax cuts, so we would have leverage to gain greater leverage in more progressive ways by closing corporate loopholes, and other means siuch as adding Romney's proposal of capping deductions at some lower level like $100,000.

          What chance to we have of getting additional revenues now?

          What do you expect is going to happen in the debt ceiling negotiations.  Even an approximate outline starting with the chained CPI and dollar for dollar matching the GOP has already demanded and appear to expect?

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:02:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We will have a new congress (5+ / 0-)

            and tax season will be behind us for many.  
            I see the 113 being better ..much better than the 112.  Not saying much but better.
            Tea Party lost in last election and they are making their last stand to say FU constiuents who voted us out and FU to the uppity president.  That is how I read it politically and I see the tea party as the enemy.  These are the same people who suppressed votes.  HAve done nothing and believe in Ayn Rand.  They are pissed te myans were wrong and guns are going away.  They are the same people who called us DFH and lazy ...Remember the 47 percent.

            We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

            by Vetwife on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:07:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The GOP will still control the House giving them (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Vetwife, Armando, sxp151

              complete control over budget initiation and the debt ceiling.

              I've heard no analysis from anyone suggesting they will back down from their hard line-in-the-sand that any extension of the debt ceiling be matched by equal or greater reduction of spending, and further than these reductions in spending come primarily from social spending not military spending.

              What cuts will Democrats propose to reduce government spending by about 22% to get to 18% of GDP?

              How do we propose "influencing" the GOP not to just issue the new budgets and tell us to deal with it.?

              What will we do when they put together a $1 trillion package of social spending cuts including chained CPI, a raise in Medicare in return for the 1 year extension of the debt ceiling?

              I might feel less concerned if I could think of any remotely  plausible possibilities other than the good will and sensitivity of the GOP to our pleas for compassion for the poorest.

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:20:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  My answer is SOU address and (5+ / 0-)

                new congress.. less tea thank you and wanting to keep those seats of the teabaggers replaced.     We will influence the new congress because America at 17 percent approval is tired of the BS.   They are jr's though and will be feet dragging for a while.  Just my obeservation for new congresscritters.   The very poor cannot wait.  They will lose homes, care for kids, much needed things.  The unemployed will suffer greatly.
                The farm bill is so critical and suprises me that Harkin didn't vote yes and Bernie did.  

                Just a lot of political posturing and FU Mr. President and VP IMO.   Obama can put the fear of God, in the State of the Union address and shake them up.

                We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                by Vetwife on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:30:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I sure hope you are right Vetwife. It will be a (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Vetwife, peregrine kate, glorificus

                  miracle that will bring tears to my eyes if we manage to play it out this way.

                  There is already so much suffering.  Too much.  I just read such a sad article yesterday on the state cutting mental health programs and Medicaid programs for the poor.

                  If the President can rally overwhelming public outrage to demand the GOP raise more tax revenues it will be an astonishing and wonderful thing.  Risking, but amazing.

                  I'll still be thinking in the back of my mind that we could have got this same deal with just a temporary two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, not taking so much risk, and relying so much of the "kindness of GOP strangers."

                  The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

                  by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:39:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I hope I am right too but HoundDog (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    peregrine kate, glorificus, DianeNYS

                    I see your side too , it just isn't an option when a family of five or 6 depend on what little work they can get in that household where they are having to be sheltered by a disabled vet and the retired ss mom of 528,00 a month living paycheck to paycheck  (that would be us) and those same parents worrying about making sure even the grown kids don't starve.   By the 23 of each month we are out of milk at 4 dollars a gallon.  My son does not even get medicaid down here in the land of Scott and we pick up the pieces of lives till we stretch to the point of breaking.

                    He needs work.  The kids need milk.  We need the elder children to find work and the older one left at home to be able to use her Title 35 that will not cover all the college expense....which means staying home or forgetting college.   We have had 9 people in our home in 08 and in Ga they still said we did not qualify for FS.
                    That was BS.  We were the only ones with income.

                    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                    by Vetwife on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:50:32 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I am not complaining as we are better than (4+ / 0-)

                      many.  the 3100.00 disability is fair income but with kids and grown ones under one roof..it just doesn't go that far.

                      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                      by Vetwife on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:54:33 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You are so right, Vetwife, it's not enough, (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Vetwife

                        and we should have so many more ways to help people who are struggling--young, old, disabled, healthy, educated or not....
                        The country is not being run with the welfare of all of us in mind, not by a long shot, and the disparities in support from state to state are appalling. I do not know how that can be allowed to stand, and yet it's beyond me to imagine real improvement on that front. I salute your perseverance under real duress, and I hope that I am wrong in my pessimism.

                        Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

                        by peregrine kate on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:02:32 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Well I have already made up my mind (4+ / 0-)

                          economically for me it will get worse if something happens to Jack before me.   I will lose a large portion of his income.   My social security is bigger than his and If we are taking care of everyone then who will take care of an old 60 something year old woman?   Not the kids because they can't make it on their own..not even the grown ones.   We can't put away anything because there is nothing left.  We have lost and downsized to the point of already austerity.   We don't do vacations or buy new clothes.  We don't do that.   I would have to move  and if these programs are cut then I am really up a creek.  Yeah he worries about this stuff all the time.
                          When we lost the house or it was stolen...by the bank, his life insurance of 15K lapsed.. Now he can't get any except the 2 year wait thing.  

                          We depend on his check.  All of us.  But of course we are just lazy according to Scott and teabaggers and there is no such thing as unemployment in double digits or VA funding being cut.   Just lazy.  I worked for 30 years.

                          We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                          by Vetwife on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:14:29 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Vetwife, There Are Programs That Your Husband (0+ / 0-)

                      May be eligible for as a veteran. If you'd like, I can provide you with information. Please let me know.

                      This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

                      by Beetwasher on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:43:38 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  18 months after Obama pushes Dems... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HoundDog, skyounkin, cslewis

            ...into voting for the drastic SS & Medicare cuts he offers up during the February / March debt-ceiling negotiations (that he swore he wouldn't engage in), we will see nonstop Crossroads / AFP / RNC ads attacking EVERY Democratic incumbent who voted "to cut Social Security." And the 2010 GOP wave will seem like a picnic in comparison.

            -8.88, -9.59 In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. -Tenzin Gyatso, H.H. the Dalai Lama

            by BobSoperJr on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:12:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  P.S. (7+ / 0-)

              If, by some miracle, Obama actually sticks to his pledge (made during the post-election press conference)* and refuses to give an inch on the GOP debt ceiling extortion, then I will happily admit that this was a good deal.

              *consider, from less than a month ago:

              White House aides maintain that the president will not accede to any pre-cliff accord that does not avert a repeat of the last debt ceiling debacle. "He's unequivocal on this," a senior administration official says. For Obama, it's personal and it's historical: He's committed to preventing the House Republicans from once again holding him hostage and bolstering the precedent that Congress can use the debt ceiling to blackmail a president.
              As we now know, Obama's pre-cliff accord does NOTHING to avert a repeat of the debt-ceiling blackmail.
              It's hard to trust this president's pledges.

              -8.88, -9.59 In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher. -Tenzin Gyatso, H.H. the Dalai Lama

              by BobSoperJr on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:21:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  If he averts the fiscal cliff and find other (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Vetwife, Armando

                revenues equivalent to 3.5 % of GDP he will go down in history as one of the greatest genius statement in our country's history.

                What is he going to do when we hit the debt-ceiling limit and the crazy House GOP nutballs don't care.

                Armando and others have written that those that play chicken with deranged people end up losing.

                So as government risks default, and social security checks are about not to go out, our hope is that John Boehner and the right wing Republicans are going to be overcome by compassion for the poor and the financial integrity of nation and give in before President Obama does?

                Its possible, if he is willing to rally public opinion. He's smart, and it seems this must be what he is planning, as I do not see any other way to avoid disaster. But, it is ... a bold plan if this is our ace card.  

                The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

                by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:35:00 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I fear you may be correct. The only silver lining (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cslewis, gzodik, sxp151

              in this cloud is that the GOP will not need any Democratic votes in the House to pass budget and debt ceiling bills, and will only need a handful of Democratic Senators to cross over.  

              The default of power seems to have shifted in their direction once they do not have the cloud of automatic expiration of Bush tax cuts hanging over their heads.

              Plus, as the devastating magnitude and consequences of the dramatic cuts to social spending start to sink in I expect we will see some voter backlash in 2014 against the GOP which the public should be able to see are the driving force here.  

              Cuts to food stamps, Medicaid to state, including mental health, nutrition programs, NSF, NIH, EPA, education, regulatory agencies, Medicare, Social Security, etc, will cause extensive suffering. Democrats may seem stupid and weak, but most will probably think our intentions were good, at least when compared to the Republicans.

              But, due to gerrymandering it may take several election cycles to take back the House.

              It just breaks my heart to imagine the extra suffering by the poor, the sick, and elderly, young, and others that it seems as if could have been avoided with better negotiating skills.  

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:28:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh please, no one important cares about cuts to (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                demimondian

                food stamps, NIH, EPA, education, etc. But start to wean those military companies from the trough and they will out-squeal anything.

                Republicans don't give a damn about the poor, but if Lockheed, Boeing or other parts of the MIC start whining there will deals made so fast you won't even see the dust.

                **Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does** h/t Clytemnestra/Victoria Jackson

                by glorificus on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:14:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  You are speculating (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lawrence, DemBrock

              ...and have no way of knowing this.  This your guess and entirely subjective.

            •  Because you obviously know that Obama (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              glynis, JBraden, sewaneepat

              is gonna make drastic cuts to SS & Medicare. He totally caved on SS & Medicare cuts in this deal! Wow see all of those spending cuts he is making the Dems vote on! How dare he!

              He totally hates both programs and tries to privatize the programs every chance he gets.  The same with Medicaid. He hates it so much he put 15 million on it in his Obamacare legislation. What an evil genius!

              "The only thing I would trust Dick Cheney on is if I had a dead hooker in my hotel room." --Jon Stewart

              by DemBrock on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:07:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I'd like to add in response to your valid point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          demimondian

          about the Clinton rates that this is true, but only by not granting permanent Bush tax cuts do we (or did we) have any chance of negotiating more progressive taxation to achieve the minimum  21% of GDP tax revenues we need to sustain current programs.

          Obama did not campaign on the "starve the beast" slashes to government programs implied by maximum 18% of GDP of government spending.

          You can not possibly be suggesting we could sustain anything remotely like Democrats social programs at that level can you?

          So how to you expect to get any more revenue at this point?  The GOP has announced they are totally dead set against it, they control the House which must initiated all budget proposals and the debt ceiling, and now we have no cards.

          When will the hear the plan? How do we avoid the announced GOP plan to close the entire remaining deficit gap with cuts to government spending to this unsustainable level?

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:12:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Honestly? (3+ / 0-)

            I expect us to continue to run a long-term unsupportable deficit and depend on prayer/meditation/wishful thinking/whatever for as long as we can.  In the end, we'll either move over to energy sources which aren't dependent on foreign producers -- and we both know that you and I disagree about what those should be, so we'll leave the nature of the sources unresolved for now -- or we'll raise taxes.

            The GOP won't get their big social spending cuts lollipop.  They've already lost that -- 2012's results guaranteed that.  So we're going to run deficits.

            You know what?  I'm willing to put up with that.  Right now, I want to put new taxes of the poor and middle class off as long as possible.

            •  I tip your response in the spirit of goodwill and (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gzodik, demimondian, guyeda

              constructive engagement not agreement.

              Although, I'm surprised to discover we agree with more than I expected. I'd go along with your long-term "unsupportable" deficit and prayer plan if it were up to me.

              But, John Boehner, the right-wing and Tea Party folks are dead set against this and now seem to control all the levers would you not agree?

              Vetwife make an inspiration pitch that President Obama will blow the right-wing extremists away in his State of the Union, and I'll add Inauguration speech, as an additional gesture of hope and goodwill among fellow Democrats and those that care for the poor, needy, elderly, young, and in between people.

              I'm not being sarcastic at all when I'll grand this much as long as we honestly label it as "magical thinking" that defies numerical analysis, as I've seen such things happen.

              But, what a terrifying risk demimondian. I'm sick to my stomach just worrying about it.

              I have a very high regard for President Obama's intelligence, common sense, oratorical skills, and I'm sure he is concerned about the best interests and common good of the American people.  And people throughout the world for that matter.

              I'm not so sure about his negotiation skills.

              But, in small gesture to reality, for a discussion based on "magical thinking" I'll acknowledge that my opinion doesn't really matter, and we Democrats don't have many other realistic options.

              I've actually thought longer and more seriously than I should have about trying to rally a grass roots progressive Democratic efforts to get House Democrats to oppose this, and failing that, an effort to convince President Obama to veto the bill if passed by the House.

              If I had as much power and influence as kos or the front-pagers this might have a 1 in a 1,000 long shot of catching a wave if Krugman, Reich, Sanders, Harkin, and a few hundred hard-core progressives all joined in really fast.

              But, as an relatively obscure "second, ,or even third pager" this might be used against me as delusions of grandeur by my loved ones to force me into a 12 step program for blogging addiction.  

              So, I'm inclined just to complain about this in comments.  

              It is a great relief to me, however, to confirm that there is no major mathematical policy logic error I am missing in Sach's analysis.

              He might be suffering from insufficient confidence in our President's oratorical power, the ability of our public and media to rise to his rally, or his estimate of the reasonability of the GOP leadership, but that''s a different story.

              Happy News Years.

               

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:57:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think that they're weaker than you do (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                glorificus, JBraden

                I think the core of our limited disagreements comes down to this:

                But, John Boehner, the right-wing and Tea Party folks are dead set against [running deficits and praying that things get better without us doing anything] and now seem to control all the levers would you not agree?
                I don't think that most of them actually are dead-set against deficits and prayer.  If you look at their legislative history, in fact, it's dominated by deficits and prayer -- I mean, the Bush Tax Cuts?  Defense spending as a primary stimulus?  You name it, they're deficit peacocks -- they're more willing to run deficits and sweep them under the rug than we are!

                I do think that the Tea Partiers -- very few of whom are in government -- think that they're opposed to deficits, but I don't think that they realize what that means.  I think that they're being played by plutocrats in the same way the social conservatives are, being used as useful idiots and nothing more.

                As a result, I don't think that the Tea Partiers actually have many levers.  Yes, they can threaten to primary someone -- but they have a great track record of electing Democrats in those cases when they've successfully primaried a less far-right Republican out.  The main stream of the party has already figured that out, and its members are planning to run really negative ads tying teahadist opponents to Mourduck or Akin if they do run -- and I think a lot of them will win if they do so.

                I think that the Tea Party in the House is running aground right about...now, actually.

      •  How do you see a revenue difference of only 16% (0+ / 0-)

        Look at the differences in time frames.

        Extending the Bush tax cut for two years means they come back up, versus making them permanent.

        Yes, we will need substantially more revenue than even the initial $1.6 trillion Obama originally committed to.  But, we had as bargaining chip to stand off  and trade with the GOP and opposed Boehner's demand that we reduce government spending dollar for dollar for the $1.2 trillion per year we need for debt extension.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:57:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your assuming those percentages will stay the same (0+ / 0-)

      Part of that 23% of GDP that we are spending is the cost of support for those who are still suffering from the economic downturn. If the economy comes back fully, that number will go down.

      It will also go down as we draw down the war in Afghanistan and as Obamacare goes into effect (since it will bend the cost curve of medical care).

      So, even if tax cuts are "permanent" at 18% of GDP (and I would dispute that as well), the spending side is not anywhere near as fixed.

    •  If the Repubs are so pleased with this deal (0+ / 0-)

      Why are they acting like the Republican party just destroyed itself.

      Show me one Republican strategist, leader etc that isn't freaking out right now.

      When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

      by PhillyJeff on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:27:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very good diary (9+ / 0-)

      you said it so simply and elequently that I wished I had put it out there exactly as you did with the same thoughts.  

      We cannot go over the cliff and when I said cliff diving didn't look so bad back several weeks ago, I did not have a clue about  the farm bill with 8 dollar a gallon milk, lunch programs and EITC.   Cliff diving is NOT a good option for the least among us.

      Thank you !!!!! Rec'd and Tipped and Tweeted

      We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:55:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I keep going back and forth on this, but the (37+ / 0-)

    proposed deal preserves the UI extension and avoiding savage cuts to the budget that the economy really needs.

    The White House has to govern.  As much as we hate the right, these people can stand in the way of governance.

    To those strident voices among us:  tell me again how you can get everything you want without throwing the nation into a bad place.  Because I can't figure it out.

  •  Well, I have always favored going over the (17+ / 0-)

    cliff and then having the Democrats propose a comprehensive package to be voted on.

    I am not angry or happy about this deal, to me it is just more of the same, and we'll be right back at it 60 days from now with no end in sight.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:24:23 PM PST

  •  Sadly, it's the same ppl who have always found (25+ / 0-)

    ...President Obama to be of low will, courage, intellect, and short on manhood. He isn't allowed to just be wrong like previous presidents.

    I find as a Progressive, being essentially on the same side as the Tea Party(in wanting the deal to fail, the ACA to fail, etc...) is not at all a principled place to be.

    I do feel sorry for those on UI. I know what they are going through and the location of the tax increase threshold is but a trivial matter when eviction or keeping the lights/heat on are the alternative.

    Thanks for the diary. I found it to be sincere which is refreshing.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:28:51 PM PST

    •  this (15+ / 0-)

      i couldn't agree more.

      Sadly, it's the same ppl who have always found . . ....President Obama to be of low will, courage, intellect, and short on manhood. He isn't allowed to just be wrong like previous presidents.
      if that makes us junior high schoolers with crushes, fangirls and fanboys, cheerleaders, mindless, brainwashed, out of touch with reality?  so be it.  there has always been a core group of Obama-haters here, and most don't even attempt to argue on issues.  it's just nonstop hate, damned when he does, damned when he doesn't.  

      the recent calls for donations and subscriptions?  i've always been completely in favor of.  but for the first time, i'm questioning whether or not i want to spend much time or other limited resources defending (again, and again) what i thought were progressive values and well, grown-up reality against a wall of hatred.

      Yes, we need to talk about this. Please sign the dKos Petition to start a national conversation about gun control.

      by Avila on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:07:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly, it does call into question what all is (4+ / 0-)

        ...supported. I don't like the idea of 3rd party advocacy or providing safe haven for those who want 2014 to be a repeat of 2010. It is as if some people cannot connect the doubts while others are silent enablers.

        "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

        by sebastianguy99 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:15:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  ..connect the dots. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avila

          "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

          by sebastianguy99 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:15:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  precisely (8+ / 0-)

          i mean, i've heard of problems with memory, concentration and short attention spans from reading exclusively online, but the very real nightmare years of Bush-Cheney's so-called Imperial Presidency weren't so long ago.  

          have so many forgotten that G.W. Bush abused signing statements* so often that he effectively nullified Congress or any bipartisan effort?  that there was virtually no separation of powers under the unitary executive of former president Bush?

          *haters, don't even bother.  of course i know President Obama has used signing statements, although obviously to a different effect.  no, i don't approve of or agree with every single decision of or action by this president.  the world i live in has never been perfect,  but compromise doesn't make a person weak or spineless.  i'll vote for the grown-up at any opportunity, because i remember all too well The Power of Nightmares and eight years of the politics of fear.  

          Yes, we need to talk about this. Please sign the dKos Petition to start a national conversation about gun control.

          by Avila on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:37:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Haters are gonna hate...... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avila, Boppy, gooderservice

    "The first duty of a revolutionist is to get away with it.". Abbie Hoffman

    by Joes Steven on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:33:18 PM PST

  •  well golly I just believe in him... (0+ / 0-)

    ma, he will do it.

    There will always be someone gauging you with a tolerance meter. Deeming you acceptable or evil. They're the best to offend.

    by jbou on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:33:49 PM PST

  •  Well whatever happens they probably don't need my (13+ / 0-)

    help. I figure our team has gamed out just about every possibility and for sure they figured on Cantor and friends throwing a hissy fit. Heck they might even have figured the house would kill the thing, who knows.

    I figure Obama and all those very liberal senators are good at what they do.

    Or maybe us pajama cowboys know better and should have been president :-)

    Real glad you wrote though. I dont' follow these things closely and it's nice to read something that isn't all pearl clutching.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:35:02 PM PST

  •  No one advocated bargaining over (7+ / 0-)

    sequestration and the debt ceiling after giving away the leverage on taxes.  If this half a deal goes through, Obama will go into the other half negotations virtually empty handed.  With the Republicans holding all the cards.

    Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary

    by Paleo on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:35:38 PM PST

  •  This deal is a victory... (17+ / 0-)

    if it survives... especially with the help for the poor/middle class, the unemployed, the farm bill, AMT...

    True, we did not get everything we wanted. And I would have liked to see some understanding on the debt ceiling issue (it's not a rubber-stamp for more debt, as the GOP would have people believe - it is just an authorization to pay bills we've already incurred - refusing to raise the debt ceiling when you've already spent the money is a textbook definition of "bad credit risk").

    However, we can't go into negotiations expecting to get everything we wanted because we don't control the House. That gives the GOP leverage to block whatever they want to, and forces the President and the Senate to make some concessions in order to get most of what we want.

    And as we are now seeing, the House is doing its level best to cause a real financial crisis. Happy New Year.

    It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong. – Abraham Lincoln

    by firstalto on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:38:07 PM PST

    •  Yes & "bad credit risk" of T-Bills hurts wealthy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sewaneepat

      The “zero risk” of federal government Treasury bills is a very important pillar of financial markets.

      So wealthy individuals and financial institutions would be hurt badly if Republican refusal to raise the debt ceiling hits confidence in T-Bills.

      Wealthy individuals and financial institutions, especially now that they are no longer distracted by the issue of their  individual income taxes, will be better able to focus on the fact that they have major incentives to pressure Republicans to raise the debt ceiling.

  •  This is not what we have been advocating (6+ / 0-)

    It was just passing the tax cut extension of those making under $250,000/year.  

    The rest of the tax cuts (those making over $250,000, estate taxes, etc . . . .) would have been dealt with at the same time as the debt ceiling and the other spending cuts.  Presumably, the democrats would have had to give "some" on the tax cuts the republicans wanted in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling and avoiding some of the automatic spending cuts.

    With the bill that has passed the Senate, we have nothing to give on taxes.  

  •  My dear boy, deal haters hate all deals (10+ / 0-)

    not just this deal.

    "We won. That means we get to smash." Isn't that about half the diaries we saw today in a nutshell?

    "Every now & then your brain gifts you with the thought, 'oh, that's right, I don't actually give a **** about this.' Treasure it" -- jbou

    by kenlac on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:51:42 PM PST

  •  Great analysis. (20+ / 0-)

    My only question is why is it a bad thing that we are going to have to go through this again in 60 days?

    Every time it puts the Tea Party up front and lets them show that they don't give a shit about the country. I welcome the chance for them to stand up for what they believe in. Let them shout it from the rooftops!

    Most people don't want the kind of country the nutcases want, but they don't pay attention. They think that guys like Bob Dole or Bush Senior are still around. Rub their noses in it. Force them to acknowledge just where the Republicans stand now: Boehner and McConnell are too liberal for them. Mitt Fucking Romney is too liberal for them.

    All of those people who voted for Republican congressmen need to realize that they are the problem. No, the two parties aren't the same. One party wants to destroy the government, flood the country with guns, and plunge us into a Hobbesian nightmare. Dithering over Social Security benefits isn't in the same league.

  •  Personally I think any deal proposed would be (5+ / 0-)

    rejected...PERIOD. So what to do when the opposition is like a bunch of teenagers messing with the adults. Slowly trickle compromise (which you know they will reject) and let the public see what AHs they are while you look rational & reasonable.

    I do get angry with those for whom anything but the full boat of dreams is inadequate and should be rejected right now to hell with all that are going to suffer... whats a little collateral damage to the extremes of either party. Reminds me of people who voted third party and we got conservatives who took us into wars where all the collateral damage was not to the top 1%.

    But in this situation I think we all knew in our hearts that the republicans were going to reject doing anything at all unless they got everything they wanted... even though not doing anything gets some really good stuff cojoined to really bad stuff... Which actually is thier fault because they can not be bothered to really govern....Instead they are busy trying to push back against minorities and return women to sex toys-breeding machine- servant style they like because they get catered to... They resist real governing... They have an ology and screw reality.

    I'll be glad to see this over but I am really tired of the po flinging.

    Fear is the Mind Killer...

    by boophus on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:55:06 PM PST

  •  Oh pish posh you and your logic... (16+ / 0-)

    People are angry here.  No time for reason.

    Kidding, kidding.  You ask good questions.

    20 innocent children were slaughtered. The gun lobby and NRA bear responsibility and it is time to fight back! http://www.csgv.org/index.php

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 03:56:58 PM PST

  •  Not just questions.. good analysis (11+ / 0-)

    I applaud this diary.  Dead serious.. I stand and applaud

    Best diary analysis I have ever seen

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:02:17 PM PST

  •  As I commented elsewhere (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WheninRome, Freedomfreak

    $250k or less AGI is an insanely high income to shield from increased taxation.  400k I don't have an adjective handy for.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    This lame duck congress is not going to do anything useful or singable.
     

  •  Why would people be second guessing Bernie (14+ / 0-)

    and standing up for Alan West.  Wanna think about that for just a minute.   Saw that in another diary.  That is just beyond the pale for my mind to wrap around.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:11:11 PM PST

  •  This gets at my big question (23+ / 0-)

    which I posted elsewhere:

    What do critics of the deal WANT?

    If the tax cuts were "leverage" that we are giving up, how much of those tax cuts were we willing to trade (because that is how leverage works) for other things? And what are those other things?

    And how do we get things like the EITC passed after the cliff?

    Maybe there's something I'm missing here, but I'm tired of people pissing just to piss.

    I was all for the cliff until pretty recently. But the more I began to hear about the details, I started to realize I had been too focused on the topline tax numbers and I hadn't been paying close enough attention to the rest of it.

  •  Quality diary. (13+ / 0-)

    I hope to see more of your writing in the future.

    The part of the deal that I like the least is the very small change in the estate tax rate.

    What I am positively surprised by is the extension of the wind power tax credit and the 5 year extension of stimulus tax credits for low income families... I didn't really have any hope left that those would happen, tbh.

    Tipped and recced for providing us some sanity and a good breakdown of things.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:19:29 PM PST

  •  Minimize Misery (10+ / 0-)

    That is what i get from  the deal.  And I don't know of a higher value to negotiate for.  The President and all the politicians that found a way to make this deal deserves praise for a worthwhile effort.  Great diary!

  •  "exactly what our side has been advocating for?" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zizi, wwjjd

    yes, but republicans aren't the only ones who
    "can't say yes"

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:26:55 PM PST

    •  And what would our side be saying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wwjjd

      yes to exactly?

      •  full context: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zizi, wwjjd, Aquarius40
        There is a lot of outrage on our side for "giving up leverage" and not tackling all of the major fiscal issues facing us, like the debt ceiling and sequestration, and instead focusing mainly on the tax cuts portion of the deal.  Here's what I don't understand:  For the last month, isn't this exactly what our side has been advocating for?
        at some point in the not too distant past, it seemed there was a consensus on this site that the prez and his party push the house to pass the old senate bill making middle-class tax cuts permanent and letting the rest (sequestration, etc) go until next congress

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:03:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What I wanted (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    delphine, WheninRome, sweatyb

    .... was for people to recognize that the fiscal cliff was not an ordinary situation for which ordinary negotiations should apply. We're not talking about the usual business of government in which the best case involves an equal give and take from each side.

    The fiscal cliff is solely a result of Republican obstructionist policies. It can be traced back directly to the summer of 2011 and the Republicans' actions during the debt ceiling crisis.

    This was an artifiical crisis (with, of course, real consequences). Discussing it in terms of conventional bargaining is useless. This was a bomb set by the Republicans to explode today. The President won reelection on his campaign promise to repeal tax breaks on income over $250k. His history of proclaiming one stand, only to immediately give concessions, is what makes the Republicans think they can keep holding the country hostage.

    He's enabling the Republicans each time he "negotiates."
    He's opering from a position of weakness. As long as Democrats are the only ones considering the effect of economic policies on the majority of the country, Republicans will continue to focus only on the tiny amount of their constitutents who fund their campaigns.

    It baffles me that Republicans, especially those representing red states where the majority of the people will benefit from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, aren't required to hold themselves accountable to those constituents.

    It makes for an extremely uneven bargaining level.

    That's what I want to see acknowledged.

  •  Simple answers to simple questions (4+ / 0-)

    "There is a lot of outrage on our side for "giving up leverage" and not tackling all of the major fiscal issues facing us, like the debt ceiling and sequestration, and instead focusing mainly on the tax cuts portion of the deal.  Here's what I don't understand:  For the last month, isn't this exactly what our side has been advocating for?

    ANSWER : No.

    Next question.

  •  The TeaPuppets want "Spending Cuts" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boppy, zizi, glorificus

    They want something - anything - they can call "spending cuts", because back home in the district, they campaigned against excess "government spending".

    When you run this through the dog-whistle translator it somes out as "government spending to help non-white poor people".

    These TeaPub Reps need some raw meat to throw to their constituents.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:35:15 PM PST

  •  Are you calling the Earned Income Tax Credit ... (0+ / 0-)

    "stimulus tax credits?"  The reason I ask is that the EITC was extended for 5 years, but it long pre-dates the stimulus program or the recent recession, having originally been enacted in 1975.

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:44:51 PM PST

  •  This doesn't extend the cuts (5+ / 0-)

    It makes them permanent. That blows up the national debt by $3.6T over the next decade.

    The whole point of stimulus is that it's supposed to be temporary, and is supposed to be reversed once the economy is back to normal.  There was at least some kind of economic argument for a temporary extension.  There's no good argument for a permanent extension.

    We spent a decade campaigning against these very same tax cuts, calling them the Bush cuts.  Why would they be a good idea now that they are the Obama tax cuts?

    This deal is MUCH MUCH worse than the fiscal cliff, which really wasn't that big a deal to begin with.

    •  Wait for the debt ceiling deal. (0+ / 0-)

      It's going to be a lot worse. And if it goes the way that I think it will, it will hurt and possible cripple the Democratic Party in ways that not a lot of people predicted.

      The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

      by cybrestrike on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:17:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Platinum coins (0+ / 0-)

        The only way out for Obama seems to be the platinum coin option.  I can only hope he's seriously considering that.  I think it really would be a winner for him politically; he establishes here that he's the one willing to negotiate and make the grand compromise, and then when it comes to the debt ceiling, he makes no copromises and  invokes the authority already granted him in the law to just make the problem go away.  

        It just seems very unlikely he's going to be that bold.  

        Otherwise, this looks like a politcal loser.  It's not that the debt really matters all that much economically.  But it matters politically.  If we could convince the country it didn't matter, I wouldn't object as much to 3.6T in debt, even with much of the benefit going to the top.  If I could believe the spending cuts would come in the right places, like out of defense, I wouldn't necessarily think more revenues were even needed.  But neither of those scenarios seems plausible right now politically.  

        Instead all I see here, is mainly that a Democratic president and Sentate just insured that temporary payroll tax cuts for all working people were really temporary, while temporary income tax cuts helping mostly the top were really permanent.  

  •  Did we just make (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WheninRome, Willa Rogers

    tax cuts for people making just under 1/2 a $ million permanent?  

    What about the payroll tax cut?  I hear that is gone, negating some of the benefits of the deal.

    What about stimulus spending?  Without it, with all of this freaking austerity, we crush the recovery and creation of jobs.

    Why are we buying into the whole "debt=horror!!!1" thing?

    At the same time we build into the tax code breaks that actually limit revenues over the long term?

    And give the gop excuses to continue to try to exact cuts in entitlement programs?

    Why is it a "win" to get SS off the table in a discussion about the deficit, which it has nothing to do with?

    I posit that the gop cares less about a reduction in defense spending than it wants to kill entitlement programs.  

    Two months (!!!!!) from now, we face them again, stupidly begging them to agree to something that has been routine for decades, and once again, will the Democrats be so desperate that they will capitulate to this degree again?  

    With nothing else on the table, will it be entitlements next time?

    They LOST.  Yet they are seemingly running the table.  

    Dems should take a step back and look at how brutal the repugnicans are when they have the WH.  And take a lesson.

    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama

    by delphine on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 04:56:18 PM PST

    •  Agree 100% (0+ / 0-)

      When they have the WH, and Senate, Republicans will do everything in their power to screw the bottom 48%.  

      Democrats come in, and are afraid to offend anyone in the bottom 99%.  

      Instead of promising to raise taxes on the top 2% in the first place, Obama should have at least gone after the top 20% (say incomes over $90,000).  As a starting point, he should have maybe even gone after the top 40% (incomes over $60,000) and negotiated from there.  

      Instead we end up with a minor tax increase on a fraction of 1%.  And pathetic and meaningless as that is, he needed to make a MASSIVE concession in order to get it, in the form of accepting the entire rest of the Republican tax agenda of the last decade.  The temporary Bush tax cuts are now the permanent Obama tax cuts.

  •  Earlier, I wrote we got 98% of what we wanted... (6+ / 0-)

    Combine 85% of our original revenue target with UI extension, stimulative tax measures, and no cuts to Med./SS, and I'd say 98% is about right. And we do have leverage: defense cuts, and we still have chained CPI (it's coming, it's inevitable, it's leverage), and we have a precedent of the GOP raising taxes. I'm confident that more revenues will be on the table in future talks, so we will end up closer to that 1.2 tril figure.

    •  We are within 15 minutes (0+ / 0-)

      of the predicted House vote, so this may soon be a moot issue, but I agree with you on 2 points:  that the defense cuts in the sequester do restore some leverage, for one.  But even more important - which the coming vote will reveal - is breaking the lock-step voting pattern of the House (and Senate) GOP.  We will not only have a precedent of the GOP raising taxes for the first time in 20 years; we will have a precedent of some members of the GOP willing to give bi-partisanship a shot for the first time in 4 years.  

    •  2% of what I wanted (0+ / 0-)

      That's 98% of what you wanted,
      and about 98% of what G.W. Bush wanted
      but it's about 2% of what I wanted.

  •  you're right...there's a lot of lunacy... (11+ / 1-)

    idiocy and hypocrisy...on both sides.

    Some of the crap coming from the loony left lately is almost as vile and intellectually disingenuous as the crap we've been hearing from the Tea Baggers.

  •  I totally agree with this: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smash artist, glorificus, Aquarius40
    I wanted to respond to one area of disagreement (I'll elaborate on this in a diary tomorrow), which is those that are still insisting that without tax cuts, we have no leverage.  I have to say that I don't believe that's true.  The defense cuts in the sequestration is very much leverage.  I would venture to say that Republicans care almost as much about those as they do the tax rates for the rich.  They hate the idea of those cuts so much that they are attempting to amend something which should be a conservatives wet dream: Drastic spending cuts with no new revenue.  So that is still a very real piece of leverage.  
    •  Sequestration won't play out that way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Willa Rogers

      Defense cuts: Repubs 100% against them, Dems maybe 50% against at most due to district self-interest and/or fear of looking weak on defense/terrorists.

      Social Service cuts: Repubs 100% for them, Dems maybe 50% against them since not personally affected and most having bought into the current "reduce the deficit"/austerity meme.

      Given the above reasonable assumptions, and the fact that Dems have already introduced chained-CPI and upping the age requirement in previous discussions, where do you think the cuts will happen?

      •  Theres only one problem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sewaneepat, Aquarius40

        With this kind of worry and thats the assumption of it all.  Same thing was said last year about the same things and SS wasn't cut.

        If at first you don't succeed, vote Teapublicans out and try again. You have to be persistent if you want anything out of life.

        by Final Frame on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:18:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not for lack of effort (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Willa Rogers

          by both parties to cut SS & Medicare.  Do you truly believe those cuts are off the table for the Dems & President in the upcoming debt limit talks?

          •  Again (0+ / 0-)

            My statement was this was expected to be done before and did not happen.  This is like being afraid of getting hit by a bus every time you walk across the street.  I can also understand people being cautious or worried about the safety nets but they allow themselves to be ruled by fear.

            If at first you don't succeed, vote Teapublicans out and try again. You have to be persistent if you want anything out of life.

            by Final Frame on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:33:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  To concern trolls (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NewDealer, jan4insight, fou

    Caving is not getting 150% of what you asked for.

    As long as 47% of the electorate buys into the free market cult you're not going to be able to ram through progressive legislation the way Kosers think you should be able to.

  •  Defense cuts don't provide leverage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AverageJoe42

    The problem with the defense cuts in the sequester is that the American people are not in favor of them, and many Democrats will be more than happy to eliminate them. I simply don't see our caucus sticking together to cut defense when many Senators and Representatives owe their seats to defense contractors in their states and districts.

    Take my Congresscritters from Washington / Seattle. They generally vote for progressive causes, but when it comes to Boeing? They might as well be Joe Lieberman.

    •  Leverage w/debt ceiling delinked from taxes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DBunn, sewaneepat, Aquarius40

      Wealthy individuals and financial institutions:

      would be hurt badly if Republican refusal to raise the debt ceiling hits confidence in federal government Treasury bills, which is a very important pillar of financial markets.

      now that they are no longer distracted by the issue of their  individual income taxes, will be better able to focus on the fact that they have major incentives to pressure Republicans to raise the debt ceiling.

  •  Cave means... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Freedomfreak

    ....the president's word is meaningless. There is nothing he will actually refuse to negotiate on. It is possible for a deal to be struck no matter what he actually says.

  •  250K v. 400K is a big difference (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WheninRome, Freedomfreak

    and an unnecessary concession.

    Remember to kick it over.

    by sprogga on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 05:22:21 PM PST

    •  Please offer the $ amount or % revenue that it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40

      will affect.

      Principle before Party! Recession 2013!!

      by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:01:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Enough to cover UI without being held hostage (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Cranium, Freedomfreak

        every year.

        $250K is almost $21K/mo. If that isn't enough to live on, you're doing it wrong.

        $400K is $33,333/mo.

        this is the the 1%.........

      •  TPM covered this, I believe. The amount is still (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DBunn

        huge, to me, but relatively small amongst the other numbers. I think Josh looked at it.

        **Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does** h/t Clytemnestra/Victoria Jackson

        by glorificus on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:30:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  $90 billion (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          glorificus, DBunn

          is the difference (loss), per Josh's analysis, in raising the tax cut extension level from 200/250K to 400/450K.  It is consistent with the diarist's figure of 85%.

          •  To be clear (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            glorificus, DBunn

            I meant to say that losing $90 billion in tax income is consistent with the diarist's figure that 85% is retained:

            That would have generated about $700b in revenue over 10 years.  How much did we end up getting in the tax cut deal?  About $600b. So we ended up getting 85% of the original revenue we were aiming for.
        •  It's the principle of the thing (0+ / 0-)

          The principle being that when we get into a bit of a crunch, the rich will have to kick in a bit more.

          The details are important: what is the income threshold at which more is required, and how much more is required at that   threshold. But it's much easier to adjust those numbers once the principle is established-- and impossible if it isn't, of course.

          •  The top Clinton tax rate was 39.6% for income (0+ / 0-)

            over $250,000 for a couple. $250k in 1993 is $400k in today's dollars, so the difference is only $50k between Clinton's and Obama's in real dollars. Add to that those people will pay an additional 3.8% on capital gains and dividends due to the ACA over the Clinton rate of 20%.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:34:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  its incalculable (0+ / 0-)

        because this sort of pointless concession breeds further pointless concessions down the line.

        Not to mention that fairness matters as much as actual impact. This change further enshrines income inequality in the tax code and thats just a bad outcome.

        Honestly, you may think focusing on the revenue impact is realpolitik or whatever, but I think its a mistake to ignore the long-term impact of repeated concessions like this and also that it matters when the tax code is inherently unfair.

        Remember to kick it over.

        by sprogga on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:45:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  especially since... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Freedomfreak

      Obama repeatedly said he would not sign any bill that extends the Bush tax cuts for people over $250K. There was no wiggle room on that...he said as much when he told Boehner he gets that for free.

      That should have been cut in stone already.

      That's what I'm bothered most about. How do we believe any future lines in the sand he ever tries to draw?

      "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

      by JackND on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:01:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Honest question (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gosoxataboy, GrumpyOldGeek

        Did he say that, or did he say that he would not sign any bill that failed to extend the tax cuts for income up to $250K?

        If you're right, it's a big give.  If it was the reverse, it was language that allowed wiggle room for what has happened now.  

        I haven't tried to look up which one it was.

        Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled. Richard Feynman

        by mwk on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:50:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know he threatened to veto the 1mil (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mwk

          figure that was Plan B from Boehner. I am not aware of any other veto threat.

        •  He would veto if taxes raised for $250k or less. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloraLine

          He never set a fixed minimum income for raising taxes.

          Remember that President Obama is a master negotiator. No flexibility = no deal.

          If he had set a non-negotiable fixed number at, say, $250k, this would be a my-way-or-the-highway proposal and, in effect, the whole tax-based revenue option would have been a non-starter.

          If he had offered a tax increase for $250k and less, THAT would have been a cave.

          Those who want to believe that raising the threshold from $250k to $400k is a cave ought to think about their assumptions and how they came to expect a perfect result for promises that were never made.

          "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

          by GrumpyOldGeek on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:16:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Defense cuts are huge leverage (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zizi, glorificus, Aquarius40

    their corporate overloads are not going to want their defense welfare checks cut.

  •  Did you hear Senator Harkin's speech early this (3+ / 0-)

    morning before the Senate voted? He understands all too well what is wrong with this deal. Who will have to pay for things because we are not getting tax revenue from people earning $250K to $450K? The poor and middle class will be asked to once again "make sacrifices." Also, Senator Harkin wanted to know why all the tax breaks for the rich are permanent (Bush tax cuts for those earning between $200K/$250K - $400K/$450K, estates tax changes, capital gains at 20%), but earned income increases, college tuition breaks, etc (that benefit the poor and middle class) are all temporary (5 years, I believe). He did say there are good things in the bill, but that the number one priority should have been something to drive job creation.
    ~
    ~
    ~
    ~
    "If you don’t believe the rich spend their time on this earth effectively f***ing over the poor, then I don’t see how you make any sense of what goes on in this world at all."
    My Zinc Bed (play by David Hare)

  •  Another thing deal haters overlook: (11+ / 1-)

    compromise is Obama's leverage.  Republicans are incensed at this deal.  Their rage cannot be overstated.  Compromise is a very effective long-term strategy for Obama because, by forcing Republicans to primary "Obama-lovers" he accelerates their division and can conquer them more easily.

    kos and others who hate this deal should own the fact that they wanted to reward the Republicans' gerrymandering (hostage taking) efforts by refusing to "cave".

  •  but but but $250K (15+ / 0-)

    it's the most magical number EVAH!  450K makes me haz sad.  the bully pulpit = awesome sauce.  magic happenz if only obama makes a few more speeches blaming and shaming the gop!

  •  Armando! (0+ / 0-)
    ...I defy anyone to defend the negotiation in this reported deal.
    Why you ask?
  •  I expect the debt ceiling negotiations to come be (0+ / 0-)

    Sequestration cuts are eliminated along with the artificial debt ceiling limit.

    "But the problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence." - President Clinton

    by anonevent on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:01:11 PM PST

  •  DeLong: Austerity didn't go anywhere! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Addison

    You didn't magically save 300M people. All we did was make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent.

    http://delong.typepad.com/...

  •  i just want to add that INFLATION is a BFD (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glynis, dangeo, trilingual1946, sewaneepat

    what i mean by that is this http://data.bls.gov/...

    $250k in 1993 is about $400k today. so we really are right around the actual clinton rates, when you account for inflation, which you really do have to do. it's totally idiotic that the republicans didn't mention this during this fight because it really is their ONLY legitimate argument. we got a good deal here peoples.

    Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. -- Mark Twain

    by TeWooding on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:02:38 PM PST

  •  Thank you. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zizi, high uintas, Aquarius40, jan4insight

    This is a good counterpoint to the current reclist freakout.  Rational arguments should overcome dkos celeb status but one can never tell.      

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:07:21 PM PST

  •  Well (0+ / 0-)

    just read the  comments and one thing comes to mind:

    Why are those who are attack anyone to the left of George Bush here? This is a progressive/liberal website. There is a whole big internets out there yet you choose to come here to spread your third way garbage in as unpleasant a manner as possible.

    I really am confused.

  •  Not really a cave, apparently (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus, gosoxataboy, Aquarius40

    I heard on one of the stations last night that there were several Democratic house and senate members that were encouraging the WH to raise the threshhold to 400/450K because in the state or districts they represent, their constituents were in favor of that. So there is some question whether this was a "cave" to republicans or democrats.

    And I still argue the point that due to safe districts, there is not that much pressure that can be brought to bear on conservative republicans because they were elected to do exactly what they're doing- obstruct the president's agenda. All the leverage in the world can't change that.

  •  Still trying to sort through last night's deal (3+ / 0-)

    But it's not easy since I can't find any source that has enough detail.  

    My household's income is in top 2%.  Two earners, $350K AGI in 2011.  We voted for Obama twice, knowing he'd increase our taxes.   We donated $5K to Obama in the recent election, and $12K to other Democrats.  I think revenues need to increase to restore long-term fiscal balance, and households like mine can afford to pay more.  I don't want to see any entitlements cut, or other progressive programs cut.  I want the social security payroll tax income cap to be eliminated, and the medicare tax rate increased so we have medicare for everybody.  DoD needs some phased in reductions, starting with this year's 10% sequestration cut.

    According to this tax calculator my household's taxes would increase by $8K-9K with the fiscal cliff, and $2K-3K under Obama's campaign plan.

    From what I am seeing, while my household's marginal income tax rates would not increase with the AGI threshold increased from $250K to $450K under the Senate's plan passed last night, we will pay more because itemized deductions and personal exemption phase outs would kick in at the $300K income threshold.   Hard to say exactly how those will play out, but I think our federal income taxes will go up maybe $1K under the plan passed last night.  

    For those who think that $250-450K households like mine won't have any tax income increase, I don't think that's exactly correct.  But, I was expecting to pay more than this, and I don't think there's enough revenue increase in this plan.  

  •  The childish insults in this comment section.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Time Waits for no Woman

    ..make it difficult to take anything said seriously.

    When folks are ready to come sit at the big person's table, I'll be here waiting.

    When extra-terrestrial beings make their first appearance on our planet, and ask for representatives of our species to best exemplify humanity, I'm sending a nurse, a librarian, and a firefighter.

    by Wayward Son on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:14:42 PM PST

  •  One victory: people care (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus

    I know, that is the problem too.  But take the long view, the really long view.  Here is this diary with hundreds of outraged comments.  And maybe some are justified.

    BUT AT LEAST A GOOD PORTION OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC CARES about what is happening in their government.  It is the same at Redstate, where there are 4 or more diaries about this bill.  I think we can agree they are wrong.  YET THEY CARE TOO.

    So in response to this outpouring of vitriol, I have decided to subscribe to Dkos for the first time.

    The Daily Kos: where people are well-informed and care passionately about what our government is doing.

    "A developed country is not where the poor have cars. It's where the rich use public transportation." - Mayor of Bogota

    by Time Waits for no Woman on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:20:14 PM PST

  •  Good diary (11+ / 0-)

    A lot of people are freaking out that it's 450k not 250k.  Neither is middle class, but that's not the point.  

    Someone who makes $450k will save the extra 4.6% taxes would have gone up over the $250k deal.  About $9,200 - to me not a big deal given the amounts at issue.  And people making that much aren't so wealthy that they'll just sit on it.  They'll spend and stimulate.

    For someone who's really in the "ruling class," say $20 million per year, taxes on the $450k plan will rise $899,300.  Under the $250k plan, that person's taxes would have risen $908,500.  Given the amounts in a case like that, even less of an issue (and still a big increase).

    And we got a bunch of good stuff in return.  So, good deal to me.

    •  Was explaining this to my family. (4+ / 0-)

      $450k is way above what a lot of people are making, but it isn't ruling class money by any means. Successful useful people make this. CEOs of Fortune 500s wipe their butts with this. That's the underling of their underling's pay.

      And like the diarist points out, the deal is 85% of Obama's starting position revenue wise. I'd call that a definite win, even if it isn't perfect (but what legislation ever is?).

  •  Great diary (8+ / 0-)

    Like you, I never understood the cries of "betrayal". As Steve Israel revealed yesterday the income threshold shift to $450k had more to do with settling internal Democratic party difference than it was about "appeasing" GOP.

    Since 2010 Bi-coastal congresscritters including Nancy Pelosi had ALWAYS said they wanted the level pegged at $500k - $1 million to take into account the geographical differences in cost of living.

    The fact that Pres Obama held firm for a long time on $250 was more to keep the Dem caucus disciplined before he had had a chance to put a final deal on the table. Cuz the last thing he wanted was to have Dem cats straying all over the map freelancing on just what number we were working with. And we can never put that capacity for disarray past Democrats.

    Frankly I marvel at the level of congressional discipline that Dems have shown throughout this ordeal. Compared to the healthcare bill process when we had Ben Nelson, Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln all going off in destructive directions, these people this week have been model angels on best behavior.

    Anyway, like what I also don't get is how "leverage" is being defined by the deal-opponents. So we go over the cliff and we raise wholesale revenue on everybody. Then what? What guarantee is there that this same house GOP would put up a a Middle Class tax cut only without poison pills on the floor that also gets us UI, EITC etc?

    Also since the House GOP controls the purse strings what control would we have over how to use that higher tax rate for things we want and not another Bush tax cuts for high incomes redux? How is that leverage?

    Finally who says we don't have leverage in debt ceiling fight when Pres Obama made sure sequestration cuts comprise superglued military & domestic cuts? Moreover we know that GOP don't actually care about deficits. It's just a ruse for them to cut safety net. Dems know that so we have a way to make that choice painful for GOP. So what's our loss? I don't get it either.

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

    by zizi on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:36:21 PM PST

    •  & more leverage: who is hurt if hit debt ceiling (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trilingual1946

      Wealthy individuals and financial institutions would be hurt badly if Republican refusal to raise the debt ceiling hits confidence in the federal government Treasury bills. The “zero risk” of T-Bills is a very important pillar of financial markets.

      Wealthy individuals and financial institutions thus have major incentives to pressure Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, especially now that the individual income taxes of these players have been removed from the basket of issues presently on the table.

      •  surely you jest (0+ / 0-)

        you have no idea what the caliber of the terrorists tea party suicide bombers are? They are not answerable to Wall Street. They don't care.

        well I guess the debt ceiling fight will be the prime opportunity to test whether your theory is right,

        "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

        by zizi on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:17:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (4+ / 0-)

    So many, here especially, haven't a clue how to get something through Congress.  If it is not, to them, P-E-R-F-E-C-T in every f*cking way it is teh suck period.  It gets real old, real quick.

  •  I haven't heard that at all. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    acerimusdux
    Post-thanksgiving, those of us on the left, from the president, to labor, to progressive organizations, and this website, had all been advocating for Congress to "extend the middle class tax cuts now."
    At least not here.

    Yes, alot about ending the tax cuts for the rich, but I haven't heard a lot of people yelling in favor of tax cuts here.

    Maybe I missed it.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 06:38:56 PM PST

    •  Yeah, I'm not sure where that was coming from. (0+ / 0-)

      I wanted all of the tax cuts gone, so the Dems could open with the Obama Tax Cuts and sell them to the public will the Republicans ran panicked about how to oppose it.

      This deal is a terrible thing on two fronts. It permanently extends the Bush-Obama Tax Cuts. It sets the stage for the upcoming austerity we're going to have to endure after the debt ceiling battle.

      The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

      by cybrestrike on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:24:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What is "Middle Class?" (0+ / 0-)

    Not the right question.

    There's a lot of comments and debates going on about what the "middle class" is and where $250k or $450k fit.  To me those aren't the right discussions.  It's as if everyone was debating the question:

    "At what income level does the middle class stop and the upper class begin?"

    I could see having that debate over beers at a pub, and I'd likely take the position that the middle class stops well under $250k.  Be that as it may, it's not directly relevant.  The debate question that is really relevant is:

    "What is the best deal we actually can get passed into law with this president, and this or the next Congress?"

  •  MSNBC had been running reruns of their (0+ / 0-)

    New Years programming. But Richard Lui has been breaking in with fiscal cliff coverage. At one point he was interviewing Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and she said entitlements will be dealt with in the next two months. Later  talking with Rep. Diana De Gette (D. Colo.) she said she would've preferred a "grand bargain". Could not find transcripts. It looks like this deal has cleared the way for "entitlement reform" in a bipartisan effort.

    Maybe incoming Democrats can stop this.  Maybe Elizabeth Warrens' voice will be heard.

    "...on the (catch a) human network. Cisco."

    by hoplite9 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:00:45 PM PST

    •  Nope. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Willa Rogers

      We're getting the "Grand Bargain" (aka the Austerity Bomb). If this deal passes, we're most assuredly getting the Austerity Bomb.

      The liberal elements of the Democratic Party will be strong-armed into voting for it, save for some token opposition within the party (Sanders, Warren, Harkins...perhaps). But the Bomb will pass regardless.

      President Obama is pretty good at getting what he wants when he really wants to. This is the guy who flew to Ohio to get Dennis Kucinich to vote yea on the ACA and successfully flipped him.

      Labor's leadership will go along, because they will lose their token seat at the table if they don't. They don't have any power, but getting invited to meetings and being coddled as useful foot soldiers for the GOTV makes them feel useful. Wouldn't want to lose that seat.

      And the Democratic Party will take the full brunt of cutting the Social Safety Net...which the Republicans will remind voters of forever. It will take a generation or more for the general populace to 'forget' about it--but the Dems will be screwed regardless.

      All because the DLC/Third Way/No Labels/Centrists/Neoliberals co-opted the party leadership and started listening to the whims of a cabal of geriatric billionaire sociopaths and oligarchs.

      The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

      by cybrestrike on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:34:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a short term deal and a long term loss (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Willa Rogers

    The middle and poor class will shoulder the long term burden.

    This deal robs the champions of the middle and poor class of power and leverage.

    Which might well be why it exists.

    What's wrong under Republicans is still wrong under Democrats.

    by gila on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:02:14 PM PST

    •  Long term is series of 2&4-year election cycles in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aquarius40

      which each cycle without a "Democratic recession" allows more time for tea-parties to die of old age, and for voting age to be reached by more young people (who are more non-white and gay-tolerant).

      So there is a type of win each time the Republicans are blocked from engineering a Democratic recession.

  •  Democrats, too. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gosoxataboy
    The defense cuts in the sequestration is very much leverage.  I would venture to say that Republicans care almost as much about those as they do the tax rates for the rich.
    Democrats care about them, too. Especially Democrats in big military areas like Virginia, California, Florida, etc.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:14:54 PM PST

  •  the answer is that we knew good and damn (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40

    well that GOP wouldn't agree to just plain middle class tax cuts without a bunch of other bullshit attached. That's why I refused to call GOP reps to advocate for that.

  •  I agree with Erick Erickson!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGreatLeapForward, wwjjd

    The Republican Establishment in Washington, DC should be burned to the ground and salt spread on the remains.
    (but maybe not for the same reasons...)
  •  Hater, hater, hater, hater, hater, (0+ / 0-)

    Hater, hater, hater, hater, hater,Hater, hater, hater, hater, hater,Hater, hater, hater, hater, hater,Hater, hater, hater, hater, hater,Hater, hater, hater, hater, hater.

    Well said.

  •  Thank you n/m (0+ / 0-)

    n/m

    In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of. Confucius

    by PrometheusSpeaks on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:35:30 PM PST

  •  The deal is a victory in that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sewaneepat, Aquarius40, jan4insight

    we were able to get rid at least some of the Bush tax cuts for the rich permanently without cutting entitlements in return.

    •  Actually... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Willa Rogers

      ...that Debt Ceiling fight that this deal sets up?

      There's going to be cutting to the Social Safety Net in that. There is no avoiding it. If you oppose it, you will deemed as shrill, un-serious, sitting at the kids' table, etc.

      President Obama may not get that "Grand Bargain" he so desperately wants, but he'll get "entitlement reform" (read: Chained CPI, possible cuts to Medicare/SS in the form of raising eligibility age, possible cuts to other social programs).

      Remember what he said during the campaign...something along the lines of the rich paying a little bit more and the rest of us having to give up something for it.

      Part one of that just happened. The rich pay a little bit more.

      Part two is coming. And it's going to involve the 99% being screwed over with harsh austerity that does nothing but make everything worse.

      The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

      by cybrestrike on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:39:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree (5+ / 0-)

    For the naysayers, it will never be enough soon enough.  I personally don't see a problem with this 'deal'.  In the face of complete and utter obstructionism, every inch gained is a victory.

    'Slower Traffic - Keep Right!'

    by luvbrothel on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:51:22 PM PST

  •  Even if we removed the debt ceiling timebomb (5+ / 0-)

    The GOP would have found something else to use as a kidnapping victim, like the budget. Brinksmenship is simply the way they are going to operate for the next 4 years, removing the debt ceiling isn't the end all be all that many people think it is.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 07:59:52 PM PST

  •  Great post -- thanks -- one quick summary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, jan4insight

    To put it in other words:

    The more Obama got in this deal, the more some are saying "he's got no leverage left."

    As if we wished Obama got less in this deal?

    (As for: it's worse than no deal -- two words: "unemployment insurance")

    And more (as I described in my diary)

  •  Good diary (3+ / 0-)

    The hating towards this deal is why I prefer to call myself center/left.

    This gets the unemployed and the poor off of the cliff, some for a year.

    We are supposed to be the party that protects the least of us. During the last couple of days, I have been ashamed to hear from Kossacks wanting to go over the cliff on "principle". Principle isn't going to help pay the bills for the 2 million plus that were going to be thrown off of the cliff starting tomorrow.

    I really thought Trumka was being disingenuous going after this deal, especially since he is a backer of the Keystone Pipeline.

    Kos was disingenuous earlier tonight in his diary because of the people who were helped tonight. What good is leverage if innocent people get hurt?

  •  great post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, jan4insight

    most salient and to the point I have read in the last 24 hours.

    mittens=edsel. no matter how much money is spent to promote it, if the product sucks, no one will buy it.

    by wewantthetruth on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:10:00 PM PST

  •  It's the shock doctrine olympics! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    itsbenj, Willa Rogers

    Nice. Now even the diarists are in on the perpetual crisis propagation!

    Don't worry about this round of screwing you. Focus on which way you want to be screwed for the next round. And the next round. And the next.

    Slap happy is a platform.

    by averageyoungman on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:23:25 PM PST

  •  sad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Willa Rogers

    Republicans - appeased.  the entire conversation - way, way on the wrong track. this deal isn't that bad, but the one coming in 2 months will be. it will be very, very bad. sad to see so abjectly little demand here for increased attention on the employment crisis, the need to preserve social insurance programs, and the need for direct spending and stimulus. it's just all about whether Barack Obama looks good to his admirers or not. truly sad. as long as he keeps giving into the Republicans, they will keep taking and taking.

    I'm so sick of the manipulative arguments and the "you don't care about the poor" pious BS from people who are themselves obviously quite well-to-do. as someone who is on UI, I think our long term interests are best served by having stimulus, and some kind of realistic prospects of future job growth. this deal takes us further away from this. and the next deal in 2 months will probably remove any and all possibility of such a thing ever happening for the next several years.

    get ready for constant approx 8% unemployment, slow growth that doesn't keep up with population growth. if you're on UI now, you probably will still be unemployed a year from now. but at least David Gregory won't say Obama is mean. oh wait, he will? never mind.

    Shout golden shouts!

    by itsbenj on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:45:00 PM PST

  •  Love your last update. ON to the next battle! nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight

    "Everything can be found at sea, according to the spirit of your quest" Conrad

    by Captain Marty on Tue Jan 01, 2013 at 08:55:05 PM PST

  •  Barack Obama is a political genius! (7+ / 0-)

    He got 125 Republicans to vote for tax increases for the rich, with essentially no accompanying spending cuts. The last time a Democrat pulled something like that off was when George Mitchell got George H. W. "Read My Lips" Bush to sign a tax increase.

    The Rethugs will now be engaging the circular firing squad. Watch for primaries galore, and candidates that make Buck, Angle, O'Donnell, Akin, and Mourdock look like moderates.

    It will be entertaining watching the first self-destruction of a major US political party since the demise of the Whigs.

  •  President Obama got more than he gave. As (5+ / 0-)

    usual. The Rethugs got played again.

    I believe we still have leverage but as one of the money-poor folks who will benefit, as well as my son-in-law who's on unemployment, I am satisfied with this deal. Let's lobby for the next phase.

    One's perspective on this varies depending on whether you actually have money or not, imo.

  •  Republicans and Defense Cuts (0+ / 0-)
    The defense cuts in the sequestration is very much leverage.  I would venture to say that Republicans care almost as much about those as they do the tax rates for the rich.  They hate the idea of those cuts so much that they are attempting to amend something which should be a conservatives wet dream: Drastic spending cuts with no new revenue.
    I have to diagree on this. Republicans love defense spending when it benefvits their corporate benefactors or when it makes them look "tougher" than dems when it comes to foreign policy. But I strongly disagree that they like defense spending as much as low taxes for the wealthy. There is nothing the Republicans prioritize as highly as tax cuts for the wealthy. None even come particularly close.

    As far as leverage goes, the Republicans (probably rightfully) believe that there are no real lines in the sand when it comes to negotiating with President Obama. There are always further concessions, and thus far there have been. That's not to say the President didn't get anything of value, because he certainly did. But after watching how relentlessly and brutally effective Obama was when he was campaigning to save his job, it's frustrating to see him not showing nearly the same intensity when it comes to standing up for the middle-class.

  •  Some of my point of view (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Little

    comes from direct experience.

    If I told you that I've dealt with employers where the CEO makes $350K per year and they are refusing to grant a $28,000 bucket to lift the wages of workers who make $10 per hour by .25 or .50 per hour, then you might understand why I think there's real problems here.

    We're giving Bush tax cuts to that CEO.

    And we're doing very little to ensure we have the revenues to fund needed education, energy and job infrastructure so that those workers, or more likely their children, have a fair shot at a better life than $10 an hour or $10.50 an hour can provide.

    I want the EITC to become unnecessary because we restore some basic sense of economic justice to this nation's wage scales.

    We can't do that with this tax plan, which is a modification of the revenues generated by the Bush tax code.  

    While I'm for the EITC and UI extension, I'm not going to celebrate as victory that we have slightly and temporarily ameliorated the effects of rampant corporate greed.

    That's not a victory, that's a minimum.  We can do better.

  •  Cliffdate# 3 Now we get to pay for Goldman's (0+ / 0-)

    ...billion dollar office building....bwhahthaha. What great deal!

  •  Just like most Americans. (0+ / 0-)

    The dems are just trading Short term gain for long term sacrifices instead of the other way around.

    I would rather have a social safety net in 50 years and pay more taxes now but so much for that dream.  

    I'm sure we will hear about what a great deal Obama gets for us again in march when the chained CPI, Medicare/Medicaid cuts are back in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, not cutting defense spending (but discretionary cuts stay) and "broadening the tax base" (i.e. more taxes on poor / old).

    Typical Washington.

    Also, what are the odds that every dem gets hit with a "Rep X voted for the third biggest tax increase in history for you" ad next November? 90%? 95%?

    Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.

    by Liberal Elite on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:31:17 AM PST

  •  I'm not disappointed with the tax increase. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Faroutman, Aquarius40

    Or the $400k cutoff.  It's fine.

    It's not GREAT, though.  And here's one big reason.  It was for FREE.  I have a terrible shock for you:  If Romney had won the election, we might have well had the same thing because the Bush Tax Cuts EXPIRED ON 12/31/12.  That's right.  No matter who the president was, they expired that day, for everybody.  And because he wouldn't have had a supermajority in the Senate, Romney couldn't have forced through a bill that didn't include making concessions to Dems on the tax code.

    Funny how that works.

    We DO STILL have to worry about Debt-Ceiling-Pocalypse, and, yes, Obama will cave on that.  The thing we're worried that he's going to cave on is SS and Medicare, two subjects he's shown he's "flexible" on, to the point of being prepared to negotiate away the cost of living adjustment for seniors.  I'm more afraid of the things Obama can willingly negotiate away to satisfy the austerity-centrist Dems than the things Republicans can force on us.

    •  Not so sure. (0+ / 0-)

      Obama might be inclined to negotiate on Social Security and Medicare, at least around the fringes, but the Democrtic caucuses in the new Congress will be stronger and have some new, powerful progressive members.  They're not likely to go along with those kinds of proposals, so in the end they're probably off the table.  Of course, we'll still need to be vigilant about cuts to other safety net programs.  And we'll have to take a few hits -- when you're in negotiations it goes with the territory.  But we have awfully sharp people on our side, so I think the next deals won't be so different from this one -- we'l get more out of them than we lose.  And that will make them a win, hopefully for the entire nation!

    •  Not "being prepared to negotiate away the cost of (0+ / 0-)

      living adjustment for seniors."

      Perhaps he is willing to change the COLA but that is quite different from negotiating it away.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:51:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seems to me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jan4insight

      that if the Prez truly had an intention to cut SS and Medicare , he wouldn't have protected them from the automatic sequestration cuts.

    •  You're 0-2 on the entitlement cuts prediction. (0+ / 0-)

      He was, allegedly, willing to negotiate away Chained CPI and the Medicare age in July 2011, and again in the fiscal cliff talks.

      Have you considered the possibility that he puts these things on the table for show, but has no intention of actually allowing them to be part of a deal?

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:02:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So he puts things on the table (0+ / 0-)

        that will make Democrats mad, so that they'll get angry at Republicans.  That makes no sense.  It seems that we end up having to pray for the Republicans to be recalcitrant enough to reject the deals that he offers.  In the process, many Democrats come to not trust the president to bargain in good faith for them.  Even you, if you really think it's just a negotiating ploy.  

        And, of course, comes the day sometime soon when he does cut a deal with chained CPI or something worse, I wonder which camp you'll be in at that point:  The oh, I didn't think he'd REALLY do that camp, or the Well, we should have cut it anyway so it's a brilliant idea yay camp.

        I suspect most of the people who shrug this off are in the latter camp, which makes me take their comments with a grain of salt.

  •  It's So Odd.... (6+ / 0-)

    All the posters here know how to get 'er done.  They could whip Republicans into shape so quickly they'd never know what hit 'em.  They could show Obama a thing or two about negotiating.  Grrrrrr.....Obama's so weak, Obama's a lousy negotiator.  

    It's weird.....looks to me like he negotiated himself into the WH....twice.

    Also looks like he finagled Republicans into raising taxes on the rich....permanently.  Unemployment benefits won't expire, tax credits for child care won't expire, student loan rates won't go up for another five years.  And....we got over $660 BILLION in revenue.  Not the $1+ TRILLION we wanted, but not exactly chicken feed.

    Where's the beef?  

  •  You're Dead-On (8+ / 0-)

    In your analysis of the fiscal cliff deal.  Of course it isn't EVERYTHING we wanted, but nobody ever gets that in negotiations between parties that are so drastically opposed.  The President and the Democrats got a lot more of what they wanted than the Republicans did, and especially the Tea Partiers.  Instead of moaning and groaning we should be out dancing in the streets, because we finally broke the Tea Party!  They were unable to block a bill that raised taxes significantly on their precious 2%! That's a big, big deal, because until now far too many people in Washington have been cowering in fear of them.  Now we've learned that they're nowhere as strong politically as we've been led to believe, and it should now be clear that we have much more room for maneuvering in the upcoming negotiations on spending cuts and tax reform than we ever imagined!

    We also have to be more mature and realistic about the way politics works.  It would be comical, if it weren't so pathetic, to read all the posts complaining about betrayal by the President, or his failure to stick to the $250K limit, or whatever.  The $250K limit was the President's opening bid -- he obviously knew that he'd probably have to move off of it before the negotiations were over.  Personally, I would have started with an even lower figure if I had been in his shoes -- maybe $150K.  But I have every confidence that the President had a very good idea of how much revenue he needed to raise out of a final deal, and the President certainly didn't look like an unhappy camper tonight when the deal was finally done!  So I'm pretty sure he got what he needed from this bill.  

    This was also not an all-or-nothing process.  There are more phases of the process to come.  So there will lots more drama in the next two months.  (I'm SO glad I still have half my carton of Costco popcorn left for the next round!)  The Republicans keep talking about their supposed leverage, but let's get real:  what is it exactly?  They can crash our credit rating, they can put the global economy into a downward spiral, and they can trigger another government shutdown.  The thing is, that's all negative leverage.  They've tried all three before and it utterly backfired on them in the most painful possible ways!  They ended up not getting what they wanted, but they did succeed in so enraging the voters that they remembered what the GOP had done for years afterwards and made sure to punish them at the polls.  So their vaunted "leverage" amounts to a lot of bluster, of which the Republicans admittedly have an almost unlimited supply.  But in reality the GOP isn't going to shut down the government or ruin the economy, any more than they were going to let America go over the cliff this time.  So when the next round of negotiations comes to the crunch, they're going to have to yield again.  And this time we all know (even the more sane Republicans) that the Tea Party can't really prevent that!  

    It's also worth remembering that there will be a few more Democrats in the new Congress and a significant number of the worst wingnuts will be gone, because the voters gave them the old heave-ho.  That should make everyone's life a little easier, because they won't be on the Hill anymore making trouble!

    Finally, we have infinitely smarter leadership than the Republicans.  The President is unquestionably brilliant, but far too many of us have been giving Joe Biden short shrift.  His manner is more folksy and he makes the occasional blunder when he speaks, but there's a remarkably sharp mind behind that façade and decades of experience in the Senate, all of which stood us in good stead these past few days!  Nancy Pelosi has proven to be a Minority Leader who's been capable of forging a united Democratic caucus in the House, which is nothing short of miraculous!  Harry Reid has been able to do pretty much the same thing in the Senate.  That means that when the going gets tough, we can count on disciplined action by our representatives in Congress to succeed in our legislative goals.  The Republicans, at least in the House, have proven themselves to be hopelessly fractured, so it won't be hard at all for our side to play divide-and-conquer in the future.  

    In short, we gained a lot from this exercise.  Not only did we get a lot of concrete things we wanted in the bill itself, we also learned how to deal with the Republicans and actually get them to support our initiatives, however reluctantly!  So, IMHO, this is an excellent start to 2013 and we can look forward to more successes in the months ahead, even though there will be more drama than in "The Perils of Pauline."  For those of us in cold climates it'll all be great winter entertainment!

    •  Wish I had that kind of optimism (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Boppy

      that this is the decline of the Tea Party's obstructionism or that we will effectively play "divide and conquer" now....but all I have to go on is the past behavior of Obama and Senate democrats.  Count me in as a deal-hater.

      Basically, I'll believe your assertions when I see them.  

      Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

      by Mark Mywurtz on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:14:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If the repubs are being very vocal now about (0+ / 0-)

      some supposed extra "leverage" for the negotiations in 2 months, anyone with a lick of sense should realize the repubs are
      1.  trying to cover their asses with their base for what just happened.
      2.  being much louder to make up for the fact that they really don't actually have more "leverage".

  •  This Could Very Well Have BROKEN THE GOP's BACK (4+ / 0-)

    We should not overlook the significance of this coalition between Dems and not-as-insane Repubs that passed this deal.

    They did it once, they can do it again on the debt ceiling.

    And just watch how demoralized and beaten these bullies are going to be now that they have been punched in the nose.

    The disarray in the GOP is only JUST getting started. We have not seen ANYTHING yet.

    Just watch.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

    by Beetwasher on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:59:33 AM PST

  •  Here is where I disagree (0+ / 0-)

    ... with your assessment.

    No one knows exactly how those negotiations are going to go, but the blueprint laid out in the mini-sequester deal was a pretty good one.  It called for reducing the sequester by 50% new revenue, 25% defense cuts and 25% domestic spending.
    This mini-sequester deal was laid out BEFORE the tax-rate expiration was settled.  If you honestly believe House or Senate Republicans would entertain 50%, 25%, or any new revenue after agreeing to the expiration of the Bush Tax cuts on the top 1%, then ... well, I guess you just don't understand House and Senate Republicans.

    In my view, they will feel they have already agreed to all the revenue they can stomach, and the only question remaining is where they get their spending cuts from.  And they will use the dept limit to hammer the President over the head until he makes that part of the discussion.

    I don't think anyone would be worried at all, ... if every time Obama has said he would never consider something, 2 weeks later he's offering it up on a platter.  I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see him standing firm on his pledge to not negotiate with the debt limit.

  •  The problem is perception. (0+ / 0-)

    First of all, I find it strange that you want to make this about middle class tax cuts, but would write off the reality that a bill WAS in place to fix that problem outside of everything else.  So no concessions were necessary to pass the senate bill.

    Instead what happened is Obama's supposed 'bipartisan" obsessions seems to grow strongest and most vocal once some better option is in the works.  Yes, he came out fighting and made lots of speeches...but it seemed to mostly happen after word of this Senate.  How much did he fight for the Senate bill?  Not at all as far as I can tell.  His own plan is what seems to sour people because it once again was the first out of the gate and made a number of concessions that weren't necessary at the time because the Republicans made ZERO offers of their own.  So Obama was just negotiating with himself.

    And considering the support Obama gets for his election campaigns and the promises/claims he makes, and the popular vote being firmly in the Democratic camp at all levels, he seems unwilling to fight for those people.  He seems unwilling to fight to promote the reality tha a majority of Americans blame Republicans for this mess, blame them for obstructing progress and generally feel Republicans are insance and support what are viewed as "left wing" issues....it is strange obama continues to fight so strongly for bipartisanship and right-leaning policies.

    Maybe I'm wrong but that is the perception and I think that is the problem people have.  This deal is ok.  What angers people is how it has been handled and how/what Obama is willing to fight for.  

    Our job as citizens is NOT to applaud politicians. It is NOT to cheerlead and jump for joy if our "side" is seen as winning or not.  Our job is to elect people we feel will bring change and/or represent our interests and the interests of the majority and then HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE to those promises.  Our job is to yell and scream and make them realize that they work for us and we will fire them if they don't do what we want.  

    To that end, I think people not only have a right to be angry about this deal, but I think it is their duty as citizens to voice their displeasure.  It is the job of the politicians to defend their "work" and to convince the voters that what they wanted/asked for/expected wasn't possible.

  •  Here's what you don't understand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deepbreath

    Obama now has negative leverage on the debt ceiling negotiations.  By synchronizing the expiration of both the sequestration cuts and debt ceiling limit, Obama has ensured that the debate will be over how much to gut SS and Medicare, instead of whether to cut them at all.  

    He has no bargaining chips left, the high stakes round hasn't even been dealt.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:40:32 AM PST

    •  How was this not true (0+ / 0-)

      About the standalone Senate tax cut bill that Democrats and people like Kos were saying should be passed just a few short weeks ago?

      matthewborgard.com ~ @MatthewBorgard

      by zegota on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:59:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The sequester's Defense cuts are leverage. (0+ / 0-)

      His huge advantage in popular support is leverage.

      At the same time, the Republicans no longer have the expiration of the  middle-class tax cuts, the expiration of Unemployment Insurance, and the expiration of the green energy tax credits as leverage.

      As far as how this deal changes the leverage for the next round, it looks like a push to me.  Both sides gave up quite a bit of their hand.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:59:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great opportunity to go for elimination of the SS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NWTerriD

    payroll tax cap.  Expect Sen. Begich's bill on this to move ahead and/or be on the table in next round of negotiations.

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