By Michael Gerson
Passing the tax compromise between President Obama and congressional Republicans would be a notable achievement - but mainly a negative one. It would avoid a contraction of the economy in January, when tax rates are scheduled to broadly rise. Deficit hawks are unhappy with another round of borrowed stimulus. But the first step in the recovery of economic health is the avoidance of self-inflicted wounds. On this commitment, at least, bipartisanship has returned.
Yet the deal also sparked an ideological argument on the nature of economic fairness. To some on the left, the refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy was a moral failure - a surrender to inequality. Conservatives generally countered that economic inequality is a matter of indifference, as long as the economy is growing. Both arguments are notable for their shallowness.