Liberals Are Depressed Over the Fiscal Cliff Agreement

Ezra Klein laments:

[T]he disappointment is more total than I can remember it being at any time since the debt-ceiling crisis. I literally have not had one conversation in the last 24 hours in which the person on the other side of the phone tilted positive on the deal.

Most of those conversations have been off-the-record. But you can see a similar level of frustration among liberal pundits. New York’s Jonathan Chait, who’s typically pretty friendly to the White House’s strategic thinking, says that “What we have now is a spectrum of outcomes that will play itself out over the next few months, ranging from ‘okay’ to ‘terrible.'” The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber says he’s “in the pessimistic camp.” Paul Krugman is relatively unbothered by the specifics of the deal, but is “despondent” over the way the president negotiated.

Meanwhile, the more strategic thinkers on the right are elated. Grover Norquist can barely contain his excitement. Yuval Levin says Republicans “probably couldn’t have done much better.” Ross Douthat takes the long view: “The lesson of these negotiations seems to be that Democrats are still skittish about anything that ever-so-remotely resembles a middle class tax increase, let alone the much larger tax increases (which would eventually have to hit people making well below $100,000 as well) that their philosophy of government ultimately demands.

Translation: Without middle class tax increases, the left can’t fund the welfare state.

Comments (9)

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  1. Kyle says:

    It’s not just liberals.
    This is depressing all over.

  2. Mae says:

    I agree with Kyle, everyone feels depressed about the fiscal cliff.

  3. Bruce says:


  4. Dr. James Franco says:

    I like to look at the little victories, such as at least we got something.

  5. August says:

    Also, 80% of Bush Tax Cuts are now permanent. That means they aren’t on the table every year now.

    I’m still holding out hope for a grand bargain.

  6. Buster says:

    There is plenty to be depressed out. But Liberals are depressed because they support the idea of out-of-control spending on government services — mostly paid for by soaking the Rich. Na├»ve Liberals (and progressives) believe that the Rich would initially gripe to each other over their champagne and caviar, then hunker down and come to accept they have to give up excessive luxuries so poor people can have European-style Welfare State amenities. Obama’s advisors understood that’s a fantasy that could not come to pass. Basically, Obama and the Democratic Leadership kicked the Fiscal Solvency problem down the road for future generations to finance while preserving the Gravy Train the best they could.

  7. Edward says:

    This so-called agreement hasn’t alleviated the overwhelming political uncertainty thats driving everyone crazy. Just wait for the coming political showdown…it’s nothing but false hope to “investors”

  8. Life of Pi says:

    I was surprised that the White House was able to even produce a deal. Until recently, it seemed like no one had any idea about how to deal with this “fiscal-cliff.”

  9. Neil Caffrey says:

    This shouldnt surprise anyone. You cant support a large amount of the popoulation on the governments tab without charging someone.