The Bush tax cuts are set to expire on New Year's Day, and one way or another, they're going to be extended. Democrats, who still control the House, Senate and White House, want to extend the cuts for 98 percent of Americans. Republicans, who control nothing, want to extend the tax cuts for 100 percent of Americans. Surely, you would think there is room for compromise here. Democrats acknowledging that they might ultimately vote to extend the full Bush tax law should be looking to get something in return.
Ezra Klein counts four deals Democrats could be looking for when bartering with their conservative members and the Republican minorities: (1) extending unemployment insurance, (2) raising the debt ceiling, (3) comprehensive tax reform and (4) expiration of the tax cuts for families making more than $250,000.
Comprehensive tax reform, alas, appears to be a long shot. The report from the chairmen of the deficit commission used an existing tax reform written by Sens. Gregg (R) and Wyden (D) as a model, and there does not seem to be great enthusiasm. The prospect of higher taxes on the rich is also looking dim, with the White House telling reporters they're open to extending rates for the rich temporarily.