Pioneer Editorial: Best deal reached on tax cuts
The compromise tax package brokered this week by President Barack Obama is wrong for America -- but it's the best one that can be reached on the eve of the advent of a Republican-controlled House and a weakened Democratic Senate.
The president, sensing the time is near for the lame-duck Congress to end, worked hard to seek a bipartisan answer to a number of issues that needed deciding before adjournment. Liberal Democrats in the House say they will oppose the package because the president gave away too much -- and he did. But he was also able to broker a number of items that will help middle-class America.
One might well question the Republicans' reasoning in forgoing the extension of tax cuts for all Americans for the sake of holding out for the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, but President Obama also won concessions for most of us. The Republicans had sought a permanent extension of the tax cuts; they got two years.
The deal's biggest measure is the 13-month extension of unemployment benefits to 2 million Americans, which only ran out a few days ago. The fear is the jobless were held hostage by Republicans seeking to keep the upper income tax cuts, and they were right. Still, it is part of the deal and liberals will score a victory there.
Also, the deal includes a 2 percent reduction in the Social Security payroll tax, which isn't a lot but it is a tax decrease that should give Americans a little extra in their pocketbook and give a tax cut to Republicans.
The deal provides an expanded earned-income tax credit, the continuation of a college-tuition tax credit and new opportunities for businesses to write off the cost of some equipment purchases.
In all, the Campaign for America's Future estimates the deal could provide $300 billion in additional stimulus to a slowly awakening economy.
Far too often in recent years, Republicans and Democrats have dug in their heals in the hopes of making no progress on any front. This 11th-hour bipartisan deal shows that while not everyone likes everything in it, a deal can be brokered to move American forward.
That's all we ask.