Today, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) rejected an attempt by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) to leverage the Republicans into supporting a bill that would only maintain current tax rates for those earning less than $200,000 per year. Obama has been trying to separate out tax rate increases for those earning above that amount in order to play class warfare; in reality, even the tax increases he proposes would pay for approximately eight days of federal government spending.
Boehner explained: “I told Tom earlier in our conference meeting that I disagreed with him. He’s a wonderful friend of mine and a great supporter of mine. But raising taxes on the so-called top 2 percent – half of those people are small-business owners that pay their taxes through their personal income tax filing every year. The goal here is to grow the economy and to cut spending.
Boehner continued, “We’re not going to grow the economy if we raise tax rates on the top two rates,” the Speaker added. “It’ll hurt small businesses. It’ll hurt our economy. That’s why it’s not the right approach. We’ll willing to put revenue on the table as long as we’re not raising rates. We won’t be party to is a deal that protects big businesses and preserves special-interest tax breaks while raising tax rates on the small businesses we’re counting on to create jobs.”
The problem with Boehner’s approach is that by putting tax revenue on the table at all – by talking about eliminating deductions – Boehner cedes the moral high ground on the argument that additional taxes hurt the economy. It’s an argument Republicans are losing, according to polls. But Republicans who cave should know they will be primaried out.