Obama didn't surprise. He compromised on his $250,000 threshold. Repeatedly he pledges one thing and agrees to another. His word is duplicitous political bluster.
He's a serial liar and shows it. He spurns ordinary people. He's done it throughout his political career.
Unemployment benefits, low-income family tax credits, college tuition ones, and Medicare's "doc fix" were extended. A permanent alternative minimum tax fix was enacted. Its impact on middle income families was reduced.
Capital gains and dividend taxes rise from 15% to 20%. Personal exemptions and itemized deductions are limited. They'll affect families earning over $300,000 and individuals making more than $250,000. Payroll taxes revert to their Clinton-era 6.2% level.
Taxes are 40% on estates over $5 million. Currently those valued over $5.12 million are taxed at 35%. Most spending cuts are delayed for Q I discussions.
Congressional pay is frozen for 12 months. Other government workers aren't affected. A provision prevents sharply rising milk prices. Current farm bill legislation continues for another year.
Hurricane Sandy relief was excluded. Last week, Senate members passed $60 billion in emergency aid separately. House legislation didn't follow.
In the cold light of day, markets were assuaged. Little else was accomplished. Few expected more.
A Washington Post editorial headlined "Small politicians at the cliff's edge," saying:
"HAVE THE NATION'S LEADERS ever seemed smaller? It's hard to remember when." Bipartisan complicity reflects failure to do the right thing.
"Instead of crafting a bargain that could set the nation on a steadier fiscal course, (Senate members) jockeyed to ensure that their political opponents would bear the public ire when things went sour. That's how small politicians behave."
Print and broadcast editors and reporters betray readers and viewers. They support policies harming them. They conceal what they most need to know. They're not told that fiscal cliff duplicity targets America's social contract. Destroying it entirely is planned.
"Revenues have to rise," said the Post, "and spending, especially on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and military health care, has to be brought under control."
At all times, social and domestic spending should be prioritized. During hard times, when millions need help, social and other domestic spending matter most. Increases, not decreases should follow.
Progressive taxes should hit high-income earners harder. Corporations should pay their fair share. Speculation should be taxed. Military spending should be drastically curbed. Funding for imperial wars should stop.