Bernie Sanders calls upon Americans to stand up and say, "We can do better than this . . ." My contribution to the consideration of alternatives is below the fold. And I hope yours will be in the comments.
I've been thinking a lot about the tax "compromise" and mostly, I've been thinking of it as another incident of failing even to put up a fight. It's been discouraging, at best; but wallowing in discouragement isn't all that useful, and I've been heartened by what appears to be the House Democrats' insistence that changes be made before passage. The changes proposed in the estate tax aspects of the proposal begin to improve it, but to my mind, they don't do anywhere near far enough to make passage acceptable.
I hate the Social Security tax holiday for the reasons widely discussed elsewhere -- it will be politically impossible to return to current rates once the "temporary" lower rates expire. Thus the future of Social Security will be threatened by this proposal and as much as I want stimulus, I want this approach stricken from the plan.
What could work for me, however, and what I haven't heard discussed at all, would be a provision making the tax cuts for households earning less than $250,000/year (or even some lower number) permanent. I don't love extending the higher earners' tax cuts even for one day; but I would be willing to compromise on a two-year extension of those cuts if the lower-earner cuts were made permanent right now. Then, when the vote to further extend the higher earner cuts comes up just before the 2012 election, the choice would be clear and, one hopes, would give Democrats the opportunity to clarify the difference between Republicans and Democrats -- if such a difference still exists.
I grew up knowing the Republicans were for the rich and Democrats for the people like my family -- family farmers, wage workers, the poor. I remember campaign songs from more than a half century ago that chided Republicans about trickle down economics. They are still singing that old trickle down theory. It hasn't worked up to now, and it won't work this time either.
What we need, I think, is to get behind some changes to this proposal that will make it acceptable. What are your ideas? And how can we advance them -- quickly?