Tim Noah: Kill This Deal:
Dear House and Senate Democrats,
Your president has sold you out.
A deal will likely be announced today canceling the scheduled income-tax increase on all family income below $450,000. It will also extend unemployment benefits and what my colleague Jon Cohn calls the "refundables," i.e., tax credits for lower- and middle-income people, and it will cancel Milkageddon, which is all good. But it isn't clear what it will do about the automatic cuts in the "sequester," and the deal doesn't appear to include extension of the payroll tax cut, which even Bill Kristol wants to extend. Also, the Democrats caved on letting the inheritance tax rise. Oh, and the deal gives Republicans carte blanche to take America hostage all over again in a month or two over raising the debt limit.
Please vote against it so we can greet the new year on the far side of the fiscal cliff, which, notwithstanding the hysteria that the Washington Post is doing its best to spread (with an assist from the Senate chaplain!), is not the Slough of Despond. It is the Promised Land, a place where Democrats will have considerably more leverage than they have today to compel a quick deal far more to their liking.
The White House means well, but it has bargained incompetently. As Jonathan Chait points out, any worry on the White House's part that it will be undercut by Senate Democrats too eager to make an even-worse deal is matched by a well-founded fear on the Senate Democrats' part that the White House won't hang tough. And anyway, the president has veto power, for crying out loud! Ezra Klein reports that the Democrats think they can make a deal now, force another tax increase later, and still get Republicans to back down on the debt ceiling. This is delusional. Any Republican who at this point believes Democratic threats to hang tough must be judged a fool.
You can change this calculus by demonstrating the fortitude that has abandoned President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Do not "come together." Stay apart. Until it's 2013.
P.S.: Tell your Republican friends that any vote for a deal before Jan. 1 is most definitely a tax increase, while any vote for a deal after is most definitely a tax cut. You might remind them that the Club For Growth thinks so, too.