I know, I know, I'm always defending Obama. But I don't think this deal is as bad as it initially sounds.From everything I've read, the biggest win for the Democrats is a 13 month extension of unemployment benefits. This is a big thing, and almost certainly would not have happened otherwise. But the other win: Democrats were trying to extend the tax cuts to people who earn less than $250,000, and that's part of the deal as well. The cost of those two victories was extending tax cuts to people who earn more than that, and a decrease in the estate tax (although still an increase over this oddball year). But there's even a good side to that: those tax cuts will expire in two years. And again, the Republicans would have tried (and very possibly succeeded) in making them permanent if they hadn't agreed to this deal. The other reason I'm ok with this deal: the biggest issue right now is not the deficit, it's still jobs. And this deal, according to the Center for American Progress (not exactly a conservative organization), will create almost 2.2 million of them in the next two years. We need those jobs. We need a quickly improving economy. I'm going to quote from a Talking Points Memo reader who I think hits it on the head:
"But keep in mind that if the economy doesn't improve, both Obama and the Dems will go down in flames, and Republicans will pass a permanent extension quicker than you can say "President Palin"."
I'm not saying that this is something to jump up and down and hoot and holler about. There's still the risk that Obama will cave too much and this is the first of many of those caves. But I don't see it. If Obama were of that nature, the Affordable Care Act wouldn't have passed earlier this year. It was almost entirely Obama (and Pelosi) that kept health care reform together when a lot of Democrats in Congress had already thrown in the towel (ahem, Barney Frank).This deal, if it passes, is a pragmatic move that has some pretty good things. It kicks the can on some other issues down the road a couple years, but that's better than losing the can altogether right now.