Will You Fall Off The Fiscal Cliff, Wage Slave? Let's See How Far
The "fiscal cliff" deal hammered out at the last minute by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden passed the House of Representatives last night - no thanks to House Republicans, who nearly capsized it at the last minute.
There are several articles out there explaining what's in the deal, exactly. But are you really going to read through all of that to figure out how you're supposed to feel about the deal? Here's our handy guide to how you should feel about the fiscal cliff deal if youre...
...a hard-right Tea Party conservative: you hate this deal. It offers no spending cuts and raises taxes on high-income earners (actually, thanks to the end of the payroll tax holiday, it raises taxes on everyone - but you only care about job creators), and you're furious at Speaker of the House John Boehner for allowing the bill to pass in the House with mostly Democratic support.
...a conservative with a longer view: you - probably there is just one of you, at this point - are actually pretty pleased with the deal: the Bush tax cuts are now permanent for 98 percent of Americans, and only expiring for individuals making more than $400,000 (not $200,000, which was the president's stated goal). And that's out of a situation that was probably Democrats' best chance to raise tax rates for a generation, and certainly not one in which you could have reasonably expected a deal with spending cuts.
...a liberal with faith in the president's negotiating ability: you think the deal is decent - not everything you might have expected, but there were no spending cuts, some low-income tax breaks were extended, and since for some bizarre reason you have faith in President Obama you're not worried about social services getting gutted when Republicans try to hold the debt ceiling hostage in February or March,
...a liberal without any faith in the president: you think the deal basically sucks. From a point where no deal at all would have automatically rendered the United States tax code significantly more liberal, we're now in a position where the Bush tax cuts are permanent even for some people who are rich by any reasonable definition; the end of the payroll tax holiday will raise taxes on low-income Americans and hurt consumer spending; and the president - you fully expect - will cave on the debt ceiling fight in a few weeks, signing off on big spending cuts on social services.
...a "deficit hawk": you hate this deal, which does nothing to lower the deficit, and actually raises it compared with projections for what would've happened had we "gone over" the "cliff." You are also an idiot, though.
...someone who makes less that $200 thousand a year: you're probably not entirely pleased, since the payroll tax holiday is over and you're losing between one and two percent of your after-tax income - but low-income tax breaks were preserved, the Bush tax cuts are now permanent for you, and any social services you use have avoided the House Republicans' hacksaw.
...someone who makes more than $500 thousand a year: you hate this deal, since your tax rates are going back up to where they were in the 90s; on the other hand, you're rich, so **** off.
...someone who makes between $200 and $500 thousand a year: you love this deal. Thanks to Mitch McConnell's negotiating, you avoided the expiration of your Bush tax rates (which the president would've preferred), and since much of your income isn't subject to the payroll tax you're looking at a smaller increase than the people making less money than you. And totally coincidentally, you happen to be in the same income bracket as many columnists, pundits, politicians and thought leader-y types!
...President Obama: you think this is the best deal you could've gotten - you've avoided the fiscal cliff, you've raised taxes on the rich (as you promised), and you're telling everyone (yourself included) that you won't compromise on the debt ceiling.
...Eric Cantor: you "hate" this deal - you refused to vote for it - but secretly you like it, insofar as it sets you up for a run at Boehner's spot as Speaker of the House.
...an op-ed columnist for a major newspaper or newsmagazine: you are probably excited at all the material this gives you for columns about how there are no Grand Bargains anymore and not enough Leadership from the White House and how both parties are equally horrible.
...someone who loves frequent self-created near-crises: you love this deal. Bring on the debt ceiling fight!
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