You guys, I've been dying to write "fiscal cliff" for the last time ever but I'm afraid the fight goes on. But there is an end in sight! This afternoon President Obama gave us an update on how these negotiations are going. Short story: There will be no grand bargain today, but a deal is in the works that will extend middle-class tax cuts and unemployment benefits. It will raise taxes for households earning over $450,000 a year and raise estate taxes to 40 percent, generating an estimated $600 billion in revenue.
As for the rest of the fiscal pie, that's a $24 billion fight for another day. Part of the agreement is a delay in planned, across-the-board cuts to programs until the whole enchilada is baked. Vice President Biden has been in talks with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. The Senate may vote on the deal this afternoon. We're almost there. So what's keeping us from passing the no-brainer portion of the budget?
This deal is by no means perfect for anyone, and conservatives should know that liberals aren't completely happy with it, either. But that's compromise, folks. That's democracy. That's what we signed up for. And yes, Obama showed some exasperation with Congress over this -- totally justified, I think. Being oppositional just for the sake of being oppositional is a 3-year-old's game. So if you like those tax cuts and want us to get a step closer to a deal, here's a few things you can do.
- Keep tweeting #My2K -- in support of extending middle-class tax cuts that could save us an average of $2,000 per family.
- Pester your representatives. Enter your zip code at House.gov and you'll get their contact info. Now give them a piece of your mind.
- Tell the White House what $2,000 means to you. And then share with your friends and family why we need these tax cuts.
Finally, drink with me. No, I'm kidding! But seriously, this is a crucial step. It's not the final step. HELLO, NOT THE FINAL STEP. But we're not going to get there JUST with cuts to programs. And we're not going to get there JUST with raised taxes. It's going to take both. The "deal" would take care of our tax cuts first and then we live another day to figure out the cuts. Keep calm and carry on, as our cousins across the pond would say.
ABC has live updates on the fiscal cliff talks if you want to follow.
Do you think the latest proposed deal will pass this week?
Image via tolomea/Flickr