"Rather than extending the tax rates only on income described by Democrats as middle class — up to $250,000 a year for couples and $200,000 for individuals — the deal would also keep the rates for higher earners, probably for two years. In return, Republicans said they would probably agree to extend jobless aid for the long-term unemployed." [emphasis added]The word "probably" adds a lovely irony to the scenario. Americans by a wide margin favor extension of the tax cuts for the middle class, but not for the very wealthy. So, the Dems had the wind at their back on this issue in terms of public opinion (like the public option in health insurance), and are proceeding to screw it up. . .again. And the Rethugs are still playing coy over extension of unemployment benefits.
We'll be waiting for the Rethugs to cynically but successfully campaign in 2012 against the growing deficit, one to which they're willing add $700 billion over the next 10 years. Marvelous!