No one should be applauding Congress' bipartisan deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. True, it does fix a few problems that Congress itself created, including a scheduled unemployment-insurance cutoff, a reduction of Medicare payments to doctors, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and a threatened increase in milk prices. But it's mostly bad news for Americans.
Congress did not deal with the approaching debt ceiling or automatic spending cuts, ensuring further standoffs within a few months. That means more opportunities for hostage-taking and media hysterics.
President Obama is claiming that tax increases for the wealthy under the deal will yield $600 billion in new revenue over the next 10 years. But that's compared with what would have happened if all the Bush tax cuts had been extended - which was never going to happen, as the president himself guaranteed. Meanwhile, the rich will see the tax rate on corporate dividends permanently reduced to 20 percent, down from 39.6 percent under Bill Clinton.