While Republicans now appear willing to raise tax rates on the wealthy, they want a higher threshold than Democrats. Republicans favor a $400,000 or $500,000 threshold, while Democrats prefer the threshold to be $250,000.

Only income above those levels would actually be subject to higher taxes. These decisions would not affect the bottom 98 or 99 percent of Americans, though they would be on the line to pay 2 percent more in federal payroll taxes next year.

According to the Congressional Research Service, setting the threshold at $250,000 would trim the deficit by $930 billion over 10 years. Setting the threshold at $500,000 would trim it by $668 billion over 10 years.