If you look at the numbers alone, the tax cut deal looks to have robbed Republicans blind. The GOP got around $95 billion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and $30 billion in estate tax cuts. Democrats got $120 billion in payroll-tax cuts, $40 billion in refundable tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and education tax credits), $56 billion in unemployment insurance, and, depending on how you count it, about $180 billion (two-year cost) or $30 billion (10-year cost) in new tax incentives for businesses to invest....I elided 4 paragraphs for humorous effect. The "numbers alone" skew heavily toward the Democrats only because Klein limited the Republican side to "tax cuts for the rich." He also says:
.... Much of what the Obama administration wanted was not that noxious to conservatives. They were tax cuts, many of them for businesses. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels had previously proposed both a payroll tax cut for 2011 and the tax breaks for business investment. Republicans have frequently said that they don't even oppose unemployment insurance.
Conservatives saw the extension of the tax cuts as an important pivot point in American politics -- full stop. As my colleague Jennifer Rubin puts it, Republicans "won the philosophical point (tax hikes impede economic growth)..." The Obama administration didn't see the tax cuts as a philosophical point....Well, that's convenient.
Greg Sargent says:
... Obama's strategy going forward will be to position himself as Washington's lone resident adult in a town full of squabbling children on right and left, and at his presser just now, Obama offered a surprisingly stern, and even angry, rebuke to his liberal critics....This is a good stance to take for 2012. At that point, we'll see how well the tax cuts worked. If the economy improves, Obama can take credit and warn us against giving too much power to Republicans because they will overdo tax cutting for the rich instead of taking the intelligently balanced approach he brokered. If things go badly, he can say the Republicans got some power in 2010 and forced a compromise that demonstrated that their ideology is wrong.
Meanwhile, both Jim DeMint and Mary Landrieu are lambasting the deal. Landrieu says she's "going to argue forcefully for the nonsensicalness and the almost, you know, moral corruptness of" tax cuts for the rich. DeMint says:
"I’m glad the President recognizes that tax increases hurt the economy.... [b]ut ... most of us who ran this election said we were not going to vote for anything that increased the deficit.... I don’t want to second-guess my leadership, but frankly, I think we need to come away with a lot better than this. We cannot increase the deficit, or keep increasing deficit spending.."And I'll just end this patchwork post with Rush Limbaugh....
My take is, taken by itself in its own universe, yeah, okay, pretty good. I like the fact the left hates Obama. I like the fact they're mad at him right now. I like the fact that nobody's taxes are going up. But placed in the context of the shellacking and of this huge election victory, it's not nearly what we coulda gotten....ADDED: My post title is "It's funny the way people are trying to spin the tax deal, now, before the vote." Once the legislation is passed, I assume people will say different things. Extreme claims of victory can't be made now if what you want is to get the legislation passed. And, too, different things will be said about this when 2012 rolls around.