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Newly-added very short summary: CED rates are capital gains/estate/dividend tax rates. In the "Fiscal Cliff" deal, the CED rates cost us about $660 billion in revenue versus not addressing them at all in the deal. Keeping Bush tax rates (mostly) for people between $250K and $450K in income only cost us at most around $110 billion by the same accounting. So, I'm considering the CED rates 600% worse than the marginal tax rates.

Were CED rate tax cuts worth it? I don't know, but I use a lot of words below trying to find out.


I've been a lurker who admittedly shows up here far more frequently when there's big stuff going on. So unfortunately there was this thing that caused me to be checking in regularly as 2012 ended and 2013 began. While I certainly was happy to read the diversity of opinions on the deal, I eventually began wondering why I hadn't seen any hard numbers breaking down the actual deal on a fairly granular basis. So I created this account a week ago to start asking for the information I was looking. Then I figured I might as well just do the research on my own.

So, now that my account has been aged for a week, I can share the results in a diary. I'm actually kind of hoping this is a repeat, since it seems like the granular numbers should have been covered a while back... but despite looking at the front page and rec list multiple times per day, I never saw that.

First, in case you're wondering what CED rates are, that's my acronym for capital gains/estate/dividend taxes.

Second, I know part of the angst over the deal not making a $250K cutoff for the return to Clinton rates is that Obama had campaigned on raising taxes on those making above above $250K. The under-reported thing is that technically, the deal did (very slightly) make 2013 rates higher than 2012 rates for those making above $250K by phasing out exemptions and deductions. Specifically, as per McJoan's diary: (I assume Joan McCarter is the former McJoan... I've been lurking for quite a while, but apparently missed the announcement that most FPers would use real names.)

Two limits on tax exemptions and deductions for higher-income Americans will be reimposed: Personal Exemption Phaseout (PEP) will be set at $250,000 and the itemized deduction limitation (Pease) kicks in at $300,000.

I don't want to get into the details of whether the PEP and Pease technically meet the campaign language on $250K or not... I just wanted to note that I understand the angst, but really think the CED stuff is worse, and deserves far more attention than I've been seeing in comments and diaries. Especially since, as it's been noted elsewhere, $250K in the beginning of the Clinton era is $400K today:


There's more detail below the arcane kosymbol, but here are a couple spoilers:

  • The AMT-fix cost is huge. Seriously, it dominates everything.
  • Read the title again, now that you know what CED rates are. And note that when I say "worse" I mean the CED tax cuts in the deal were about 600% bigger than the marginal income tax cuts in the deal that progressives seem to be objecting to the most -- the stuff in between $250K to $450K.
  • I was surprised to see that the stuff I had classified as "good" actually costs slightly more than the stuff I had classified as "bad" over the 10-year projection period. (There's also a category of things I consider basically neutral. This "neutral" category dwarfs everything since that's where I put the AMT fix.)
  • However, I'm not entirely sure what portion of the good stuff should represents a negotiating win for progressive purposes. Plus some of the good stuff has a sunset provision, while none of the bad stuff does. So, after looking at the numbers, I think this sunset asymmetry is my biggest complaint about the deal, inasmuch as there are some really unfortunate ramifications of the asymmetry.

EDIT: There's been some confusion about the diary expressed in the comments below. I think maybe what I said down there might help clear up any confusion. But if more things are unclear, please let me know and I'll see if I can clarify. Here's the hopefully-helpful meat of my comment, with a little extra content:

As of the new year, there was a very brief moment when the Bush tax cuts had expired but no new law had been passed. In that moment, there was a large amount of new revenue from CED stuff on the books as compared to the tax laws in 2012. Then, in the deal, the Democrats chose to give up $660 billion of that new revenue in exchange for passing the deal. Meanwhile, the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts all the way up to an AGI of $400/$450K instead of $250K was around $100 billion or less. So we lost more than 600% revenue in CED stuff as opposed to marginal income tax rate stuff to get the deal done.

Every deal has its cost, of course, but I wanted to see what we actually got out of the deal in real dollar figures. And while it wasn't as bad as I initially thought, I'm still not sure it's very good.

The Sources

Most of my data was taken from a Joint Committee on Taxation document that you can grab from here -- following the link automatically starts a PDF download:

The CBO has a much less useful PDF here since it doesn't break down the tax stuff into categories like the JCT doc does:

There might be some bugs in the documents, so if anyone has a better rundown, please point me to it so I can update this diary. For instance, the JCT seems to be listing the tax credit numbers out a full 10 years even though I thought the deal only specified 5 years for the tax credit extensions. Also, the total costs aren't quite exactly the same in both documents, but the documents seem about right overall.

A note on accounting: I know there's some debate whether all of this should be considered tax increases or tax cuts. The JCT and CBO are using the fiscal baseline math that compares the bill to the actual conditions on January 1, so that's what I'm using here.

They give both 5-year and 10-year projections to go with the year-by-year numbers -- I'm just using 10-year projections since that's a little more standard, but anyone can go into the linked documents and look at the five-year numbers if so desired.

Additional Background

A slightly more wordy way of describing my good, bad, and neutral categories would be that the "good" stuff is stuff that I think Republicans (depressingly!) would have preferred not be in the deal, the "bad" stuff is stuff I think Democrats (hopefully!) would have preferred not be in the deal, and the "neutral" stuff is stuff that I believe both parties wanted to have in the deal.

The JCT report pegs the total cost of the deal at $3.9 trillion. Adding up all the $50+ billion items below covers $3.8 trillion of that.  So, I'm only looking at stuff that cost at least $50 billion, as anything below that is pretty much a drop in the bucket. Of course, the smaller stuff can be seen in the JCT document.

Finally, the Actual Numbers

The Good: total cost of $931 billion -- here's the breakdown, with all numbers in billions.

  • Retain 10% Bracket: $443
  • Retain Child Tax Credit: $355
  • Continuation of Additional Tax Credits Enacted In 2009: $134

The 10% bracket doesn't sunset, but could arguably be considered neutral. But given Republican rhetoric, I'm not so sure. Since this is almost half the cost of the good, one's view on if it really belongs in the good or neutral category might affect one's view on the deal.

The Child Tax Credit is apparently a full 10-year extension, so hopefully that means there's no sunset there, either. However, the $134 billion package is limited to 5 years.

What about unemployment, you might be asking? Well, for some reason, I don't see it in the JCT document, but the CBO document has it costing a mere $30 billion for the 1-year extension (below my admittedly arbitrary $50 billion threshold). So you can add that to the $931 billion to the good, or whatever number you feel is appropriate to call "good" depending on how you're treating the 10% bracket retention and tax credit 5-year vs. 10-year confusion.


The Bad: total cost of $767 billion, with the following breakdown in billions:

  • Retain 33% Bracket and 35% Bracket for $400/$450K Joint:    $108
  • New Capital Gains Tax Rates: $59
  • New Estate Tax Rates: $369
  • New Dividend Tax Rates: $231

Which makes the total CED amount $659 billion. Which is more than 600% greater than the cost of the $250K - $400/$450K marginal rate remaining as it was in 2012, and the motivation for my title.

I can't find a source now, but taking into account the 33% bracket covers some income under $250K, I think I saw the actual cost of setting the $400/$450K cap instead of $250K was more like $80-some billion? In which case the CED rates are actually more like 800% worse...

And since we're on the $250K topic, I'll note that the PEP/Peas stuff even less of a drop in the bucket than unemployment compensation is -- "just" $11 billion over 10 years.

And a random sidenote: I wonder how much traction against the "death tax" framing we might get by calling the estate tax a "hoarder's tax" -- which seems appropriate for the times.


The Neutral: total cost of $2.1 trillion -- so here are those numbers, in trillions this time:

  • AMT Relief: $1.816
  • Retain 25% and 28% Bracket: $0.212
  • Marriage Penalty Relief: $0.085

The way I'm thinking about the "neutral" stuff is that this is stuff that was seemed certain to happen anyway, and doesn't really reflect on the various negotiating skills on display. AMT relief gets passed every year without much fuss. The 25% and 28% brackets form much of the heart of the middle class, and no one wants to raise their income taxes, at least. I'm not quite as informed on the marriage penalty stuff, but I can't imagine either party wanting to be on record as "opposing" marriage.

As I'm typing this up, I notice there's no line item in the JCT report for the 15% bracket, a bracket which I'd guess I'd consider neutral as well. Did the 15% bracket just never change with the Bush tax cuts? I guess I shouldn't be surprised if 12 years ago they somehow decided the 15-percenters didn't need a cut beyond the cut in the 10% bracket.

And if you're curious, if I'm reading the CBO report right, the 10-year cost of the "doc fix" (which I'd also consider neutral since it gets passed every year without much fuss) is around $25 billion.


I know that even with having all the numbers, there's not going to be agreement on how well the deal was negotiated. If the child tax credit is "permanent" and the 10% bracket retention was actually a negotiating win for the Democrats, that's almost an exactly 50:50 split of good and bad permanent costs, which doesn't seem terrible. But if the child tax credit sunsets, and/or the 10% bracket retention was something that Republicans could have been shamed into accepting regardless, the deal starts to look worse.

I could go on and talk more about the fact that anyone getting significant taxed significantly in the CED department is/was/is almost certainly ultra-rich. And that if dividend and cap gains were going to be what they were made to be in the this deal, it sure would have been nice to have an estate tax as the ultimate backstop on that resulting extra wealth. Like maybe the the much higher rate/lower limit tax the estate tax technically was briefly on the first of the year. Or that just not addressing the estate tax at all in this deal would have been probably been a stimulative tax increase, since it would have theoretically gotten people spending now rather than later/never. Nope, I won't go into all that -- I'll leave this diary mostly to the numbers.

EDIT: I see this was republished by the Community Spotlight. Thanks, Rescue Rangers!

Originally posted to asdfwasnotavailable on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 12:48 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Somewhat confused messages here, I know (9+ / 0-)

    I wanted to get the numbers out, but I don't totally know how I feel about the deal. For one thing, I'm in the camp that needs to see what happens in the next manufactured crisis before passing complete judgment on this deal.

    On the one hand, I don't think it's terribly likely that Democrats could get much better than a 50:50 ratio dollar-wise on things they want against things Republicans want.

    But man, as a backseat negotiator, it sure seems like "permanent" Bush tax cuts for $400K/$450K Joint could have been traded for the mere  1 year of unemployment extension and more.

    On the other hand, the CED rates are such a huge thing to Republicans, symbolically and otherwise. And as much as I know the 5-year tax credits are a good package, they're temporary. So I ask myself was this really the best we could get in exchange for such a costly CED rate policy? It really seems like we could have landed a much bigger target... Or let the extra revenue itself be the target, along with the slightly lower measure of inequality that should accompany the higher rates.

    So since I don't know how hard-fought the bigger, seemingly permanent child tax credits were, or the 10% bracket extension, I'll probably remain frustratingly uncertain about the deal.

    I guess it feels like the Democrats found a $100 bill on the street, then decided they just had to spend it immediately. It's not impossible that was good decision, it just seems highly unlikely.

  •  I am confused. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sewaneepat, Cedwyn, Lujane

    The ced stuff generates 660M of new revenues, correct? So why would you add that number to the cost to Treasury of the retention of lower rates to the $450k crowd? How are these all "costs"?

    •  Sorry, was away for a bit (7+ / 0-)

      It's not $660 billion in new revenue. Exactly the opposite, actually. So obviously I needed to explain that better.

      As of the new year, there was a very brief moment when the Bush tax cuts had expired but no new law had been passed. In that moment, there was a large amount of new revenue from CED stuff on the books as compared to the tax laws in 2012. Then, in the deal, the Democrats chose to give up $660 billion of that new revenue in exchange for passing the deal.

      Every deal has its cost, of course, but I wanted to see what we actually got out of the deal in real dollar figures. And while it wasn't as bad as I initially thought, I'm still not sure it's very good.

      Does that make sense? Anything else I should clarify?

      •  Okay, can you explain this: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, caul

        How do you compare the new policies on capital gains, estate and dividend taxes compared, not to what was the case on 1/1/13, but what was the case on 12/31/12.  I mean, if you look at it that way it is better, right?

        "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 Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:42:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It sounds like you pretty much got it (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, Odysseus, Aspe4, caul

          For instance, I viewed the Bush rates for people making less than $250K as pretty much a certainty to remain where they were. But I thought and hoped the CED rates had a real chance of going way way up.

          So yes, since the Bush tax cuts were set to expire as of 1/1/13, I viewed everything that was set to expire on 1/1/13 -- especially the CED rates -- as being fair game for negotiation.

          Thus, as far as I'm concerned, it didn't actually matter when the deal was passed. I would have said "That's a tax cut" on anything that lowered CED rates from what they would have reverted to on 1/1/13 based on the Bush cuts/Obama extensions thereof. It just seems like the most logical way to consider it.

          Does that make sense?

  •  Marriage (10+ / 0-)

    The marriage penalty stuff is actually pretty easy to understand.

    In order to facilitate a household with unequal earnings or in which one person does not work, there is a married filing jointly tax rate.  The brackets, thresholds, standard deduction, etc. were  traditionally set at around 1 2/3 the level of filing as a single person.  This makes a lot of sense if we're trying to facilitate that sort of household; moreover, two people living together can easily end up need less money than living separately, so it makes sense if you're trying to take into account people's needs for disposable income.  There is also a method of married-filing-separately, but it has some of the same pattern and isn't eligible for some of the credits and deductions that filing jointly is, so it is/was pretty bad for most people.

    The problem is that setting up brackets this way penalizes families where both spouses are working in relatively equal jobs, since they pay more taxes than they would if they were both single.  The Bush cuts in the early 2000s did away with this "penalty" for the lower income brackets: the standard deduction is double that of singles, as are the tops of the 10 and 15 percent brackets.  Starting at the top of the 25% bracket, however, the gap narrows.  For 2013, the top of the 25% bracket for singles is about $88k, while for MFJ it's about 146k.  The top of the 28% bracket is about $50k apart, and by the time you're going to move from 33 to 39.6, you're even.  So there is still a "marriage penalty," but it doesn't apply to those with middle class incomes.  If you've got two high earning spouses, however, they still do take a hit.

    •  Thanks for the explanation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, Aspe4

      I figured it was something meant for the middle class like that, and thus fair to call it a neutral item.

      It is quite interesting how that goes away for the upper income brackets, though, so there's obviously a pretty huge marriage penalty for two wage earners both earning $400K.

      •  Marriage penalty worse at $200K/$250K for some (0+ / 0-)

        If rates had been raised at $200K/$250K thresholds, two wage earning spouses each earning over $125K would have flipped  into the highest bracket on the next dollar of income and that would have affected a larger number of two worker couples.  Both spouses also pay the maximum social security tax so that would be a pretty high combined tax rate.   At $400k/$450K there may still be a marriage penalty for a few couples where both have a high salary, but the social security tax is a lower percentage of overall income.

  •  I find your diary very unclear (0+ / 0-)

    although I didn't take the time to really pour through it.

    For example, what do you mean when you say "worse?"  I can't tell if you mean that it raises more revenue or less revenue.  

    In other words, is the effect on revenues worse or is the tax hit on individual taxpayers worse?

    So I didn't even understand what you are saying in your title.

    Perhaps you could edit and clarify.  Readers want to know right off the bat what your main point is.


    •  My sense is that there's good stuff (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      here, but the diarist did himself a disservice by scramming. It's a bit confusing.

    •  Appreciate the thought (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, divineorder, Aspe4

      When I say "worse" I mean that compared to where we were at 12:01 AM on January 1st, we lost at least 600% more revenue from the CED stuff than from setting the marginal income rates on Adjusted Gross Income between $250K and $450K where they are.

      Does what I've added help you at all? Are there other things that remain unclear?

    •  Tax income and Capital Gains the same. (5+ / 0-)

      My assumption is that the Progressive position is to tax capital gains and income at the same rates.  ("Stop favoring wealth over work.")  Thus the differential between what that tax would have raised, and the $59B that it does raise, is the actual cost.

      You're correct that the diarist does not indicate that number.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 08:43:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, that's a better way to put it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, divineorder, Aspe4

        I was kind of trying to stay away from getting into a debate about whether the deal represented tax cuts or tax increases.

        But it's sounding like it would have been better if I had just said from the outset that I'm considering everything tax-related in the deal to be a tax cut, and then presented what I figured the good tax cuts were versus the bad tax cuts.

        So yes, I come firmly down on the side that capital gains and dividends should be taxed as ordinary income (and would be taxed like ordinary income right now if the CED wasn't included in the deal, I think).  I also think that the estate tax should be much more powerful, which it would have been without the estate tax inclusion in the deal.

        So perhaps a better summary is that the CED stuff was a massive tax cut for the rich -- around 600% bigger than the cost of the tax cuts for the 33% and 35% brackets. In other words, CED tax cuts are around 600% worse than marginal tax rate adjustments.  And all that is with uncertain long-term benefits for progressive causes.

  •  I laud your research and attempt to present this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, divineorder, Odysseus

    material,  but, man, is it a tough read.  But  a 5 column table with inter-item comments might have been easier>
    1Old 2012 $, 2. Post cliff $, 3. variance,  4. Post deal $, 5. variance.  Good start, keep trying.

    GOP Wars against: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Immigrants, Mexicans, Blacks, Gays, Women, Unions, Workers, Unemployed, Voters, Elderly, Kids, Poor, Sick, Disabled, Dying, Lovers, Kindness, Rationalism, Science, Sanity, Reality.

    by SGWM on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:17:12 AM PST

  •  People fixate on what they understand. (6+ / 0-)

    A crotchety old conservative ranted to me that 'libruls want to tell you where you can eat' because he only understands 'libruls making rules on how you can spend your money' and 'he spends his money on food'.

    People fixate on the $250k/$500k debate because they have paychecks.  People ignore dividends/capital gains/estate taxes because they don't have them.

    So, yeah, smart move would have been to play the sucker and give up on the $250k/$500k debate but double the CED rates.

    To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

    by ban48 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 09:40:40 AM PST

  •  Important subject, thanks. Let me see if I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Dems gave away more revenue on the CED changes than they gained by raising rates on incomes ?  

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 10:23:40 AM PST

    •  That's something I wish I knew (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder, Aspe4

      I might be able to look it up, though.

      The stuff I was looking at doesn't get into how much revenue was raised by allowing the planned increase on the marginal rates on incomes above $450K.

    •  And it looks like you were right (0+ / 0-)

      Joan posted a diary today focusing on this article from CAP:

      And according to the article:

      The American Taxpayer Relief Act—the bill passed by Congress and signed by the president to avoid much of the fiscal cliff—extended most of the Bush tax cuts but allowed those that affected only households with incomes of more than $450,000 to expire, resulting in a 10-year revenue increase of a little more than $600 billion.
      So since the price of the CED changes was $660 billion, it looks like it's a pretty clear yes that Dems gave away more revenue on the CED changes than what they gained by raising rates on incomes.
  •  "Hoarder's Tax" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    asdfwasnotavailable, TampaCPA, Aspe4

    ..makes at least as much sense as Luntz' "Death Tax."

    Plantation Masters across the South might take offense though..

    Poor people have too much money and vote too often. Republican platform plank, 1980 - present

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:04:41 AM PST

  •  This is absolutely true... (4+ / 0-)

    What many don't seem to realize is that the marginal tax rate is irrelevant to wealthy filers.  Many of those making millions per year do so largely through dividends and capital gains.  Their tax rate is effectively the capital gains and dividend rate.  So, rather than going up to 39%, they only went up to 20%.  It would have been better to keep the marginal tax rates the same but sunset the dividend and capital gains taxes.  

    The increase in taxes was largely irrelevant.  It was so insufficient to address the problems of growing wealth inequality that it was basically a joke.  Allowing all of the tax cuts to expire was our best chance to create a more progressive tax code for the next decade, since the House is basically locked in Republican hands due to gerrymandering.  

    It was a huge blunder, in my opinion.  It was better to experience some short term pain for a better long term gain.  The deal was absolutely short sighted.  

    •  Yeah, there are not a whole lot of people (0+ / 0-)

      who earn truly ridiculous wages. And those that do might not have them for too long (athletes and some entertainers for instance).

      I thought about getting into why we should favor wage earners in tax policy, but the diary was already monstrous enough in length as it was.

  •  I think it is a mistake (0+ / 0-)

    to compare things to what would have happened if nothing were done.  The correct, in my view, comparison is to what was - that is, 2012.  Anything else is just semantics.  

    If you do that, we got to stay where we were on the lower rates, increased the higher rates and got a phasing out of exemptions/deductions. Another way to look at it was that if we were trying to get a bigger rate changes and higher rates on your CED, then we got much of what we were aiming for AND some of what they were offering (Romney was floating the idea of the phaseout as the alternative to increasing rates at all).

    Winning is not a 100 - 0 shutout. Winning is making real progress from your starting point and we won.  It is okay to accept that we won while not getting a perfect deal. Really.

    Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

    by nsfbr on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:33:45 AM PST

    •  I tried to stay away from semantics (0+ / 0-)

      But there were enough people expressing confusion over the diary that I tried to simplify things.

      The proper baseline is a complex issue. Personally, I think the proper baseline is to assume everything I dubbed "neutral" was going to be law in 2013 no matter what -- maybe with the 10% bracket retention thrown in there.

      But I think one thing is absolutely true -- all the stuff that I didn't call neutral was negotiated, or at least should have been negotiated.

      And I agree, you can't expect to get something for nothing in a negotiation. But that should apply to the Republican side, too. Giving them the current CED rates for free would have been giving them something for nothing.  

      And since not including the CED rates in the deal would have generated $660 billion in additional revenue, I believe it's only logical to look at what we got it in exchange for bringing the CED rates into the deal and forgoing $660 billion in additional revenue.

      I personally believe that the marginal income tax rate deal alone should have been enough to get the unemployment extension. And really, the unemployment extension should have only been part of what we got in exhange for making the marginal income rates what they are, since the only objectionable aspect of the marginal income tax rate policy is valued at about $110 billion, while unemployment in the deal was only cost about $30 billion.

      So then it mostly comes do whether the various tax credits were worth forgoing that $660 billion in CED revenue. If all the tax credit stuff had been made as permanent as the CED rates, I might think it was fair. But since at least the 5-year credits have that sunset provision, I'm leaning to thinking that the price of including the CED rates wasn't worth it.

  •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Those are where the big money was lost.
    It's just easier to talk about the income tax rates, b/c it's what's easiest to understand; also the President made a specific campaign promise around it, which matters to some people.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:30:49 PM PST

    •  Even though as I noted above in the diary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Of course taxes actually did go "up" on people making over $250K thanks the to PEP and Peas phaseout exemption/deduction stuff.  Plus, given how tax brackets are adjusted for inflation, it's quite possible this is where marginal income tax rates would be right now if there had been no change in the tax laws since Clinton rates took effect.

      Oh well, I'm just glad enough active members have seen this diary so that presumably these numbers will be brought up where applicable.

      •  IMO, not enough. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        And why mess around? there's a lot of merit to the argument Armando and others were making: just let the tax cuts expire, then, if you want to cushion the middle class and working class during these hard times, reinstate their tax cuts with  piece of legislation proposed by Democrats, and dare John Boehner and his merry crew of crazies to vote against it. Do the same with unemployment insurance, and have Democrats on TV every day, multiple times a day, putting on the pressure. If the Republicans refused to pass UI and middle-class tax cuts under those circumstances, it could be the end of their existence as a mainstream party.

        Faint heart never won fair policy :-)

        Especially since all this could have been done two years ago, in the lame duck session of 2010, before the Republicans had any power on the Hill other than the filibuster.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:02:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Once I saw this in the Community Spotlight, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          even though it was a first diary, I had high hopes for its readership since I know dkos likes to think of itself as a reality-based committee. And it's not like people don't read Community Spotlight diaries -- this one for whatever reason just ended up with fewer recs than all the other surrounding Community Spotlight diaries.

          I don't really know why this didn't prove as popular as the rescued diaries. The first couple comments were mostly people expressing confusion, so I guess that might have played a role. Or maybe it's just that people didn't know what to think of the information. I still don't totally know what to with the information, but I'm very glad to have tracked it down.

          I am quite sympathetic to the Armando idea though. Usually, progressives want to do SOMETHING, while Republicans are usually quite happy to do nothing. This was just a very rare scenario where the nothing option was mostly on our side. Sure we needed UI... but that's just $30 billion. If it really requires a huge tax deal to get UI, we're in a lot more trouble than I thought.

          And maybe that's the kind of diary that gets attention these days -- taking that last sentence of the previous paragraph as a title. Even though it's not  completely true.

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