Was Obama’s Tax Deal Worth It?

Republicans got their way on Tuesday, as President Obama agreed to temporarily extend all Bush tax cuts in exchange for new stimulus measures—a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits and a one-year reduction in the payroll tax. Remember when the GOP cared about the deficit? Jon Chait at The New Republic writes, “Obama got a fair amount of stimulus in return for upper-bracket tax cuts. Unfortunately, it tends to be terrible policy. But it's the [GOP’s] core policy goal, and if you help them attain it they can be surprisingly reasonable.” Ezra Klein, meanwhile, breaks down the GOP’s concessions: It turns out to be between $200 and $300 billion in tax breaks, tax credits, and unemployment insurance. He says the money, while better than nothing, is “not well targeted” and that, because most of that money extends current programs, it’s better to call it “anti-contractionary” than “stimulative.”