But those wealthiest taxpayers will see their top rate go back to where it was during the Clinton era – from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. During the negotiations, there had been talk of setting the top rate somewhere in between.
All told, the fiscal-cliff deal produces $620 billion in deficit reduction over 10 years, a down payment on what both sides agree needs to be much more. In the cold light of day, many Republicans disappointed by the tax increase agree that the alternative – no deal – would have been worse.
“The deal to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff was a lousy one: tax rate increases during a weak economy, no spending reductions, nothing on entitlement reform,” writes Peter Wehner, a former Bush White House official, on Commentary Magazine online. “And yet if House Republicans had succeeded in derailing this deal, negotiated between Senator Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden, it would have been disastrous.”