As Obama spoke, Congress was closing on a $600 billion deal that would raise taxes on households that make more than $450,000 a year and individuals who make more than $400,000. The emerging deal would also permanently patch the Alternative Minimum Tax, raise the estate tax rates for high-value properties, extend unemployment benefits for a year, extend several middle-class tax cuts for five years and add a temporary fix to Medicare reimbursement rates.
It's something that everyone can live with, even if it displeases the anti-tax purists. We had some very good growth in the 1990 with those pre-Dubya tax rates, so it isn't as if we're putting the economy in the gulag for the rest of the 2010s.
The next stop is an agreement on spending cuts. They're still set to go off the cliff on those into an across-the-board sequester, but cooler heads will eventually prevail... one would hope.
That's where liberal orthodoxy will have to get it's sails trimmed like conservatives took one for the team today; the liberal tendency is to do as little as possible as late as possible, while conservatives will be asking for cuts that are real and soon rather than in outyears that will never be seen in a real budget.
That's January's brawl, and beyond, if my gut is right in that liberals are going to need to be dragged kicking and screaming into meaningful trims in things other than the defense budget. However, the biggest brawl got settled on terms that shouldn't straight-jacket the economy.
We just got handed a rope for the "fiscal cliff"; that begs the rope-a-dope line, but I'm going to give the establishment GOP folks a pass on this one. With a Democratic Senate and Obama's butt in the Oval Office for another term, things are going to be a bit more left-of-center than Republicans will like; this makes it manageably so.