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  •  As someone who has also negotiated both civil (4+ / 0-)
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    Pluto, SoCalSal, elwior, rudy23

    settlements and criminal plea deals for clients over the years,  I would agree that one cannot judge a deal by the limited information we know about the discussions and posturings that make up the negotiations.  Perhaps if we had video of every single discussion between the key actors and those discussions that took place between legislators and staff members, then we could hazard some guesses.

    But I do not agree that either the margin of passage in either body or the one-day effect on the stock market can be viewed as factors dispositive of whether thedeal was good.

    The real test is, as you pointed out, whether the terms of the deal constitute an improvement over what would have happened had there been no deal.  From that vantage point, IMHO, there are several positives: raising taxes for people over the $400,000/450,000 threshold, raising the capital gains rate, keeping the Earned Income Tax Credit and the child care tax credit, extending unemployment benefits, extending some other tax credits from the stimulus and , to me at least, not making any spending cuts.

    On the flip side, we as Democrats still have  the debt celing to contend with, future spending cuts and what to do with the sequester.   Those are big negatives.

    In criminal cases, often times some features would outweigh others.  For instance, if a prosecutor offered my client a deal in which he would not have to serve any more time (or a very little bit relatively speaking)then that may seriously outweigh the burden of having prospectively to pay a steep fine or perform a large amount of community service.  My point is that not every feature of a deal can be wei ghted equally.   Taking that into consideration, I think the deal was worthwhile to the extent that it enables people receiving unemployment benefits to continue receiving them. (I cannot imagine what the holidays for people in such predicament must have been like.) I do not believe the President or the Democrats could necessarily have gotten that from the Republicans if  we had waited to negotiate after the New Year.  It was too big a risk, along with the potential risk to the economy to not cut this deal at this juncture.

    Nevertheless, I think only when we get passed the sequestration extension and debt ceiling raising can we truly judge this deal.  It then must be looked at, in that context along with the deal in the summer of 2011.

    So far the Repubs have won about $1.2 trillion in cuts and probably at least a $1 trilliion more coming.  Obama has gotten them to give on some income tax rates and on cap gains and, a little bit on estate taxes.  So far SS and Medicare have been protected.   After the first two negotiations, Obama has beaten them clearly; however, with the next negotiation likely to involve exclusively or mostly cuts, the jury is still out.   We will have to see what happens over the next 3 months and then revisit the issue.

    •  The next session will be all cuts (1+ / 0-)
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      You heard McConnell - the discussion/debate on taxes is over.  The debt ceiling will not be raised without significant cuts to government programs, including SS and Medicaid.  The only way Dems get any new revenues (ie perhaps through closing loopholes and deductions, and rewriting the tax code) will be by offering up MASSIVE entitlement reform (re. cuts).  That may not happen, and in that case, there will be no new revenues.

      •  I suspect you will be right that it will be all (0+ / 0-)

        so the question is where will the cuts be?  The best place would be to defense.  Unlike the last few negotiations, I'd like to see Obama put out 2 areas where he'd be willing to cut: defense and long-term Medicare cuts (in the form of discount purchases from drug providers and new ways to avoid repettion of services).  These are areas which drastically need cutting (the defense budget has basically more than doubled since 2001) and medical costs are eating up both private insurance money and Medicare which is still more efficient but still has the potential to choke the federal budget particularly 10-20 years from now.  So I think Obama should offer a plan but he needs to do it as part of the negotiations to do away with the sequester not as part of the debt ceiling.   He needs to maintain the pose that he will not negotiate on that and he needs to continue to court CEOs to pressure the House GOP not to play games with it.

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