Unemployment/tax deal

Rather than an extensive essay on the subject, I propose to present these arguments as bullet points for ease of reading – and of course your criticism:

1. Any discussion of the President's deal on unemployment/taxes has to begin with the unemployment question. Failure to do so puts one in the marshes. While taking our cues from General Electric-owned MSNBC on the question may seem righteous, it isn't correct in this case.

2. Progressives should worry more about the Republican Party's hatred of them than a few jibes from the White House. In fact, I wonder sometimes if wounded pride fuels this opposition as much as anything else.

3. It is important to be angry about the situation. But so far from the left, I haven't seen much clarity or strategy for actually winning a better alternative in Congress. No plan has been offered an alternative that actually wins 60 votes on an extension of unemployment benefits.

4. It is clear that the hundreds of millions dollars the GOP raked into their campaign coffers for the election were meant to secure one thing: tax cuts for the rich. This is their primary domestic agenda item. Now, if they can win cuts to social welfare, security, and services, they'll take that too – and a divided center-left coalition only helps that to become more of a reality.

5. After this past election, there was no reason to expect the Republicans to do anything other than delay and try set the legislative agenda – even if millions lose their unemployment benefits. Why should they care, they just won the election!

6. The Republicans have already voted in both houses to block bills that would have allowed the rich tax cuts to expire and continue them for middle-income households. If you even heard that that had happened, the political fallout from the Republicans sticking it to working families this way didn't translate into much political heat on them. So why would they feel any real pressure to extend unemployment benefits all by itself? Not to continue to critique progressives, but we let that happen by shifting our focus onto the President.

7. It's distasteful, in my view, to do a lot of political grand-standing and symbolic posturing when millions of families need action now. A push to improve the compromise without delaying the process is in order.

8. Progressives should not simply take up the Republican strategy of being the "party of no." Privileges of wealth and power don't require a real agenda for change; working families and the crisis they face do.

9. The fight for jobs, for change, doesn't end here.

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