It is a maxim in Congress these days: If high-profile legislation affecting millions of Americans is about to expire, deal with it at the last possible second, preferably with rancor.
But a major exception is in the offing with the Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to lapse on Jan 1. Both parties in the House and the Senate are eager, perhaps even giddy, at the prospect of voting for their respective versions of an extension of the cuts this summer, well before the due date.Now, the piece goes on to say that the Democratic package would drop the cuts for high earners and keep them for the middle class. But with a divided Congress and this president in charge, does anybody expect the Democratic preference will become law? Anybody?
Right. We've already seen this movie before. So maybe it's time to end the debate, make the tax rates permanent rather than dickering with them every two years, and start planning for a budget within those revenue limits. Politicians of every stripe and party should be clear with the public: You're going to keep your current tax rates, but you're not going to keep your current services. Something has to give.
The debate over the revenue side is over, and Democrats have lost. The sooner they and their allies admit it, the sooner they can prepare to shape the government that results from the revenue limitations. And the sooner they can decide what, exactly, they can live without.