Good points from Scott Lemieux on the significance of Obama’s opening bid:
It makes it clear that Obama is willing to maximize his leverage by letting the Bush tax cuts expire. This isn’t the proposal of someone who’s particularly interested in making a deal to avoid “going over the cliff.” And after the Bush tax cuts have expired Obama’s hand is much stronger.
It makes it more likely that the terrible deal he offered in 2011 was based on the idea that any “grand bargain” would help his re-election, rather than an inherent commitment to the underlying principles. This deal has the right priorities — significant new revenue, needed stimulus spending, and to the extent that “entitlements” are cut this is done correctly: Social Security not touched, unspecified Medicare cuts that can be progressive because they don’t necessarily entail cuts to services.