| If so, they are fking cowards. Krugman via Klein:
Ezra Klein says that the shape of a fiscal cliff deal is clear: only a 37 percent rate on top incomes, and a rise in the Medicare eligibility age. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that this is just a case of creeping Broderism, that it's a VSP fantasy about how we're going to resolve this in a bipartisan way.
Because if Obama really does make this deal, there will be hell to pay.
(I'll second that motion. - z)
First, raising the Medicare age is terrible policy. It would be terrible policy even if the Affordable Care Act were going to be there in full force for 65 and 66 year olds, because it would cost the public $2 for every dollar in federal funds saved. And in case you haven't noticed, Republican governors are still fighting the ACA tooth and nail which will pitch lower-income seniors into the abyss.
(This is the kind of "tough decision" Mark Udall said he'd have to make for everyone but himself and his family. - z)
Second, why on earth would Obama be selling Medicare away to raise top tax rates when he gets a big rate rise on January 1 just by doing nothing? And no, vague promises about closing loopholes won't do it: a rate rise is the real deal, no questions, and should not be traded away for who knows what.
With a bipartisan deal like this Democrats will be fully on board with Republicans in the imminent destrucion of America's social safety net - one of the things that makes us "exceptional". The House and Senate will finally become the Death Panels Republicans warned about, and Democrats will be fully complicit in throwing Grandma under the bus. All this so the richest among us may stay that way with ne'er a worry in their pretty little heads. Well, except the worry of too many jobs for us losers and takers.
I think the answer to the second question is the vanity of bipartisanship, which is close to being pathological in Democrats, and says that because they can get a few less crazy Republicans to vote on a bill, even if everyone else around says it's bad, then it is by the very definition of bipartisanship a good bill and must be praised.
Of course, this logic only applies to the few square blocks where the White House and the Capital are located and the cramped, windowless editorial offices of newspapers everywhere.