We’ve heard what Maine’s Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud don’t like about President Obama’s tax deal with Republican leaders.

Pingree called extending tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans “a ransom note” from Republicans who would not let anything pass in the lame-duck session unless they got what they wanted.

Michaud objected to the way that the expensive tax cuts were coupled with extended unemployment benefits and a list of Democratic programs without offsetting cuts to pay for them.

What we haven’t heard from either member of Congress is a better solution to a political problem that affects virtually every American.

The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire on Jan. 1. If Congress does nothing, every wage earner — not just the wealthy — would see a bite taken out of his paycheck.

Unemployment benefits, already extended to a historic length, were also expiring.

That would not only affect millions of people who are out of work, but their banks, landlords, corner grocery and everywhere they do business.

Also set to expire are tax breaks that were part of the 2009 stimulus bill. Those provisions help low-income and moderate-income families by keeping students in college or on the job — and out of poverty.

Obama, who usually maintains his cool when others are losing their’s, was unusually sharp with his criticism in a news conference this week. And his anger was aimed less at Republicans, who are using the leverage that voters gave them, than at Democrats like Pingree and Michaud, who are not dealing with reality.

In two votes in the Senate, Republicans blocked Democratic efforts to pass a tax-cut fix that let taxes on the highest incomes increase. That option, the president’s favorite, was effectively taken off the table.

Obama and the Democrats could have let all the tax cuts and unemployment benefits expire and tried to ride a wave of political outrage into the next Congress. Or they could try to strike the best deal available for most Americans.

Obama did the responsible thing and made a deal. Pingree, Michaud and other House Democrats have chosen the other path.