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Optimistic About the Deal

10:48 AM, Jan 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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John Hinderaker is optimistic on the "fiscal cliff" deal:

Here are some glass-half-full observations on last night’s McConnell-Biden fiscal deal from an inveterate optimist.

Raising taxes on those who are already paying roughly double their fair share, while leaving everyone else’s taxes the same, is lousy public policy. But from the Republicans’ point of view, it may be good politics. For the last four years, the Obama administration has run up unprecedented deficits, adding more than $4 trillion to the national debt. How has President Obama justified such profligacy? He has been a broken record: his mantra is that we just need to increase taxes on the “wealthy,” restoring them to Clinton-era rates, and then everything will be fine. He has never offered any other plan either to raise revenue, or to control spending. Raising taxes on upper-income taxpayers is the only card in his deck.

Knowledgeable observers always knew that nothing Obama said about fiscal matters made any sense, because raising income tax rates on the “rich” barely makes a dent in the deficit. But we learned in November that most voters are not knowledgeable. President Obama won re-election, and now he has gotten his way: marginal income tax rates on high earners are being restored to Clintonian levels (assuming the House goes along). Isn’t that, for the Democrats, an ominous development? Their call for higher taxes on the rich was never a serious policy proposal; it was always sheer demagoguery. It was a politically popular way to deflect all meaningful talk about the budget.

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