I agree with Clive:

I don't suppose I should be surprised by the operatic dismay of liberal Democrats at the agreement Obama has reached with congressional Republicans. But is it really good politics for the party to keep telling the electorate that raising taxes on the rich is the one thing, in the end, it stands for? That nothing else comes close in the party's list of priorities? Because this is the message that comes across...

According to one strand of Democratic thinking, cutting payroll taxes is not a Republican concession, paltry or otherwise, but another tactical victory: Republicans want to cut payroll taxes in order to bankrupt Social Security, so this is all part of their master plan, which Obama is now cravenly implementing. (I listened incredulously as Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake explained this on the PBS Newshour last night.)

So let's review: as well as higher taxes on the rich, by this logic, we also need higher payroll taxes on low- and middle-income households, to defend Social Security. And Democrats wonder why voters don't trust them on taxes. Can't they at least pretend to be reluctant to put them up?

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