The "framework" for a tax deal struck between President Obama and Republican leaders yesterday seems to satisfy neither the Democratic base nor the Republican base. So it probably represents the best deal that either side can hope for on December 6, 2010 in a lame-duck Congress.
The most telling reaction, of course, is from the stock market. On the buy-on-rumor, sell-on-news theory, we can assume that the market, that rose strongly last week and today is flat, thinks the package is so-so.
That is not good news for President Obama, who needs a pretty strong economy starting early in 2011 to get a decent economy in 2012 for reelection.
Of course, the tax package, which more or less extends the Bush tax cuts, doesn't do anything about the real big drag on the economy, which is ObamaCare.
The stage is now set for the political argument of the next two years. Should the economy be based on the privilege-and-subsidy state of the liberals, on the belief that ordinary people cannot get a fair shake without a heavy government leaning on the exchange relationships of employer and employee, producer and consumer? Or should it be based on a level playing field of low tax rates and low spending, on the assumption that capitalism is basically a win-win proposition where service and trustworthiness is repaid in a decent return on labor, on capital, on the consumer dollar, and on the investment of trust in the system?
This is the Great War that has raged since 1848, when the educated youth upped and declared that the whole thing stank. They declared that the bourgeois were exploiters and that students and workers were victims. Special interventions were needed to save the workers from a fate worse than death, and the educated youth were the only chaps with the moral standing to do it.
Now, more than ever, it is time to really evaluate what the century and a half of economic interventions has really delivered and what it can hope to deliver in the future. Or is big government just big government whether it is run by absolute monarchs or absolute politicians?
Now more than ever, it is time for the lovers of liberty to strain every brain cell and every sinew to persuade the American people first, that the liberal world view is wrong and second, that its politicization of everything is cruel, corrupt, unjust, wasteful, and deluded.