My careful reading of this is that the Republicans are open to some small tinkering with the Estate Tax to appease House Democrats but that there won’t be much movement from the deal the White House hashed out with Senate Republicans.
Personally, I think the fiscally responsible thing to do is to let all the tax cuts expire. But that’s a long-term thing. In the short-term, we have to find a way to stimulate the economy in any way we can, and raising everyone’s taxes is going to do the opposite. I don’t think the Republicans give a shit either way. If they get their deal, they’re happy. If they don’t, they’ll just cut taxes on their terms next year and try to take all the credit for it. If the economy suffers and unemployment climbs back up, they’ll be like pigs in shit. They feel like they’re in a no-lose situation and they’re basically correct.
The House Democrats are standing their ground for now, and they can probably force at least some small concessions on the Estate Tax, but not on the income tax rates. That’s my guess. What do you think?