I suspect that Jonathan Chait is correct that the deal Peter Orszag floated today in his NYT column debut doesn't really work. Orszag would extend all the Bush tax cuts for now (or, in partisan language, replace the planned Republican tax increases with new temporary across-the-board Democratic tax cuts) in exchange to ending them all in a couple of years. Chait argues persuasively that neither side will bite on this offer.
What puzzles me, still, is why Democrats don't demagogue this issue. Polls pretty clearly show that, at least in the abstract, people love soak-the-rich tax policies. So why don't Democrats run on them? Even if Democrats actually believe that soak-the-rich is bad policy (do they?), one would think that they would be inclined to run on the issue, and then trade it away or ignore it after the election. Of course, quite a few individual Democrats do run on this issue, and Obama's policy positions in 2008 were in that direction, although at least as I heard it his rhetoric really wasn't. And it's not as if Democrats are too principled to demagogue an issue, as they've proved in cases from Social Security to trade. So: why not more bash-the-rich rhetoric in support of soak-the-rich tax policy? Is there something in the polls beyond the basic numbers? Are Dems gunshy about it because of some prior experience? Any ideas?