Rich Galen

The late über-diplomat Richard Holbrooke is quoted as saying, "A peace deal requires agreements, and you don't make agreements with your friends, you make agreements with your enemies."

As the 111th Congress limps to its can't-come-soon-enough adjournment, both sides of the argument on the tax/unemployment bill should take to heart Amb. Holbrooke's dictum.

Liberal Democrats in the House don't like the bill because of it continues current tax rates on the highest earners for two years and exempts the first $5 million of an estate from taxation and taxes anything over that at 35 percent.

Democrats want the estate tax to return to its pre-2001 levels of a one million dollar exemption and then a tax rate of 55 percent on everything over that.

Congressional Conservatives don't like the bill because it extends current tax rates on the highest earners for two years (instead of permanently) and taxes estates of over $5 million at 35 percent (instead of zero taxes on estates of any size in current law).

Conservatives also don't like the bill because it extends unemployment benefits are extended for another 13 months without a "pay-for," that is, without an offsetting reduction in federal spending elsewhere.

Both Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney pronounced themselves dissatisfied with the bill.

One of them may need to re-examine his/her position.

Both Liberal radio host Bill Press and Conservative Rush Limbaugh said they were unhappy with the compromise.


President Obama, demonstrating an astonishing lack of grace, said he had agreed to the package even though he considered the Congressional GOP to be "hostage takers."

Speaker-presumptive John Boehner's press office continues to refer to the President's original position as a "job-killing tax increase," and promises to repeal Obama's "job-killing healthcare law."

Killers? Hostages? Maybe we can do without those terms in the 112th Congress.

The Tea Partiers don't like it, but I'm not certain they understand this is still the 111th Congress. quotes a "co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots" as saying "There are people around the country who expected the Congress to act differently. People in this movement think Washington still doesn't get it." organized a "call-in filibuster" ahead of the Senate vote on Monday saying "the American people need to know what the Democrats stand for and they need to see someone fighting on their behalf."

The American people, speaking on their own behalf, told a Washington Post/ABC News poll that they are in favor of the compromise by 69 percent to 29 percent +40.

In the WashPost's analysis, writer Jon Cohen pointed out that

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at