William Galston

As public policy, the fiscal cliff deal has few merits to recommend it. But it does have one positive political consequence that has mostly gone overlooked: It substantially narrows the gap between the policy commitments we have made and the way the budget process officially presents them. Americans can finally have a cleaner—if not necessarily more productive—debate over what to do. Understanding why is somewhat complicated, but worth the effort.

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Both plans jeopardize America's ability to invest in its future.

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There’s a great fiscal debate in Washington, and George W. Bush is winning it. In 2008, Barack Obama campaigned on a pledge not to reverse Bush’s tax cuts for the bottom 98 percent of taxpayers, a promise he has worked hard to honor. That locked in 80 percent of the Bush-era revenue losses. During the current negotiations, Obama’s initial offer includes $1.6 billion in new revenue over 10 years, which would leave intact about 60 percent of Bush’s tax cuts.

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Obama and Boehner need to stop talking to the press and start talking to each other.

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A Team of Rivals might work for the economy, but not foreign policy.

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Two entrenched positions define the revenue dimension of the fiscal cliff debate—Republicans’ opposition to rate increases, and President Obama’s longstanding vow not to raise taxes on families making $250,000 per year or less. Each side has reasonable if not completely compelling arguments in favor of its position.

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The military's laws on adultery are a travesty.

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A mea culpa from an Obama skeptic.

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If President Obama is reelected, his second term will be shaped by the terms of that victory.

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Obama's ground game is important, but it may not make up for his problems with undecided voters.

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