++Sporting a 12% approval rating, it seems the Senate and the White House reached a deal. The deal is being lambasted by Paul Krugman, Richard Trumpka,Robert Reich,the progressive blogosphere,and New York Times.
++What does the deal say. It preserves tax cuts for those earning under $450,00 per couple,the estate tax, which Republicans want to eliminate,will be tagged to inflation,the capital gains tax goes up to 20%. The entitlement programs are untouched. The unemployment benefits will be extended. Yes, the payroll tax will have to go, which actually makes Social Security less of a target in the future.The President agreed to a two month delay on sequestration while Democrats wanted one year.
++The New York Times tut-tutted that it did not address the long-term interests of the country. And you think something this cooked up, would?
++The fear is that this hostage taking will occur now everything there is a fiscal issue. I thought it would anyway. Republicans had to drop their insistence on never raising taxes and dealing with the estate tax and an increase in capital gains. That is not to say that the bill will pass. But if the Senate passes the bill, then if Speaker Boehner allows the bill to go to the floor and he passes with Democratic votes,the spin of obstructionism will be broken. Then the pattern for the future will be slightly changed.
++You might read Michael Tomasky piece in the Daily Beast about how this is the pattern throughout our history and that it is rare that progressive attitudes can dominate with a congressional culture determined by the South from the beginning of our nation.
++If you want to read a nice piece about people freaking out, Henry Holzer in the Daily Beast writes about the Emancipation Proclamation turning 150 tomorrow. Abraham Lincoln partied with visitors throughout January 1 while those anticipating the Emancipation Declaration believed Lincoln might actually cave on the subject. Observers got nervous. The first problem was that Lincoln had found a typo and had the proclamation returned to be printed anew. By mid-afternoon, it appeared and was approved by the President. And the partying continued and the tension got higher. The President went to his study to sign it and first brought his pen up and put it down. Then he tried again. His hands were shaking from the handshaking with well-wishers. He then massaged his hands and finally got to the point where they were steady. Then he signed it. His hesitation was because he knew this was the proclamation that made him immortal and he wanted his best signature in place. Holzer's good read reminds us that in the immortal words of Joe Biden the Emancipation was a Big F... Deal.
++So with us having gone--sort of--over the fiscal cliff and hitting the debt ceiling, remember tomorrow will be the first time since 1951 that Congress will be in session on New Year's Day.