President Obama is casting the fiscal cliff deal as a fulfillment of his campaign pledge to ask for more in taxes from the wealthiest 2 percent, while Mitch McConnell is boasting that 99 percent of his constituents won’t be hit with tax increases. How can that be? As with so much in the fiscal cliff—er, fiscal crisis—negotiations, it’s a matter of semantics. The top income tax rate will rise only on households earning $450,000 or more, but those earning more than $250,000 will see some loopholes phased out, so they’ll end up paying more as well.
To simplify matters a bit, here is a rundown of some of the agreement’s key specifics, as reported by the Washington Post and others:
So: You say 2 percent, I say 1 percent. You say tax hike, I say tax cut. But let’s not call the whole thing off.
Note: This post was adapted from a previous Slatest post, available here.
*Correction: This post originally misstated the amount of the revenue increase Obama had initially sought. It was $1.6 trillion, not $1.6 billion.