I just watched my DVR'd Rachel Maddow Show from last night, which Ezra was hosting. His opening segment was about the fiscal cliff and how, behind all the bluster, the shape of the deal regarding the fiscal cliff is taking place, and it consists of 2 main things:
1)The top tax rates will go to 37, not 39.6, which Ezra says is a win for democrats cause they raise the rates, and a win for republicans cause they don't let them get all the way back to 39.6.
2)Raising the eligibility age of Medicare to 67, which John Boehner would supposedly need to get his caucus to vote for ANY tax increase.
So let me get this straight, you have Tom Coburn, a dozen house republicans, Ann Coulter, the Weekly Standard and other republicans publicly conceding that republicans should let the top rate go back to 39.6....and the conservatives who aren't conceding that think its gonna happen anyway...yet the WH is gonna agree to some 37% middle ground crap?? And whats worse...John Boehner will squeeze out a structural change to Medicare?? If Boehner pulled this off...honestly, he should have a statue built as an homage to great dealmaking.
The WH has all the cards, we are watching a republican literally EVERYDAY come out for letting the top tax cuts on the rich. Their wall is crumbling before our very eyes, they have ZERO leverage and everyone knows it. This deal isn't that much different than what Obama was willing to accept in 2011, but at least then the republicans were completely united against taxes, he didn't have the leverage, had a re-election coming up, and was frankly desperate. Doing this deal now, when we have never seen the republican party in a weaker spot, would be much worse.
Now there's a HUGE caveat. Ezra comes to this conclusion based on no reporting. He simply uses the fact that neither Boehner nor Obama have ruled out the 37% rate when pressed, and Obama in the passed has shown an openness to dealing away the eligibility age for Medicare. And frankly, there's no one else claiming this is what a deal would look like so normally I would dismiss this as just village talk, but Ezra Klein is someone I respect, and he doesn't just predict stuff without being sure, and he was very convinced this is what the final deal would look like.