Regular reads may recall that about a week and a half ago, when this deal was first announced, I started complaining about how ridiculous I thought my favorite commentators were being about it. I heard Ezra Klein's numbers on Olbermann and immediately started wondering why the Republicans were willing to give so much. Now, I don't like being on the wrong side of Bernie Sanders, because I Love and Respect that man, even more so after he spent 8 hours explaining in detail why tax cuts for upper brackets are such a bad idea.
Because they really are. And I had _another_ conversation today with someone who thought that thirty some odd percent on estate taxes sounded like a huge bite. Every time I (usually the designated rich person in the conversation) and someone else (usually the designated not nearly as rich person, if not outright poor) have a conversation about taxes in which I argue in favor of much, much higher rates on upper brackets, and they keep saying how that sounds like a lot of money, my head spins and I wonder if my vertigo is coming back.
Anyway. So I get this e-mail from MoveOn asking me to call Niki Tsongas and tell her how disappointed I was with her (which I am absolutely not! I am very proud of her voting in favor of this deal, because while about a third of it is horrible, about two thirds of it is great and THAT is a screaming deal), and I decided not to just delete it. Instead, I called Niki Tsongas and told one of her probably quite-put-upon volunteers that while I _personally_ benefit from the extension of the Bush era tax cuts, I wish they had gone away, but that I was extremely happy she voted for the deal because while it was an awful situation, that was the best choice available.
The volunteer sounded very, very happy to get this phone call.
Politics is sometimes about holding to an ideal, no matter what the consequences. But politics is also sometimes about making a deal, after having considered the consequences. And I'm pretty sure that few of the not-the-designated-rich-people would have been very happy to have a substantial additional chunk going to the federal government starting on Jan 1. It's not even clear it would have helped the deficit overall, if it took our slowly recovering economy out back and beat the shit out of it again.