What's Not to Like in Obama's Tax Deal?

For Americans, the package requires no hard, immediate choices, demands no sacrifice and imposes no pain.

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Well, what do you know: Seven in 10 Americans support the tax deal currently before Congress.

According to the Washington Post:

Even when primary objections to the pact are mentioned—that it would add about $900 billion to the federal budget deficit and that it extends tax breaks to the wealthy—62 percent of all those polled support the package.

Beyond what such broad support means for the deal’s chances to become law, the deeper question should be: Why wouldn’t they? Extending current income-tax rates on the one hand, and extending various goodies on the other, the package requires no hard choices (at least in the immediate future), demands no sacrifice, and imposes no pain—unlike the Simpson-Bowles commission report (currently polling at 48 percent approval) and, ahem, a certain unpopular healthcare reform law.

Again: What’s not to like?

Daniel Larison is right: The public is not “deeply worried about government debt,” as centrist media mavens would like to believe. On the contrary, any serious attempt to fix it is going to be deeply unpopular. [Read 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Bush Tax Cuts. ]

I’d like to see some visionary policy wonks begin thinking about some kind of Federal Reserve-type body—something accountable to the public but partially insulated from plebiscitary pressure—to deal with our long-term debt. I’m not by any means pining for Chinese-style authoritarianism, a la Tom Friedman of the New York Times.

I’m simply saying that to wait until 70 percent of Americans agree with a major deficit reduction measure is akin to waiting for Doomsday.