To raise or not to raise taxes—that was the big question of this year’s election. Not only have taxes been the center of a seemingly never-ending debate in Congress, they have also been one of the biggest issues dividing the Republican and Democratic parties. As of late, some Republicans have started singing a different tune.
President Obama has strongly supported raising taxes for Americans making more than $250,000 a year, but Republicans in the House and Senate have done nearly everything they can to keep the Bush-era tax cuts going. It wasn’t until yesterday that a Republican representative hinted at a changing of views.
Sen. Bob Corker (R) of Tennessee, Fox News reports, acknowledged that the president ultimately has the “upper hand” when it comes to taxes and it may be worth “giv[ing] the president the rate increase on the top two percent.”
Many Republicans, like Corker, believe that by giving in on this issue, they have a better chance in receiving the spending cuts for which they have campaigned, especially Social Security and Medicare.
Corker isn’t the only one to speak out on tax hikes for the wealthy. Rep. Tom Cole (R) of Oklahoma spoke out on the issue yesterday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” explaining that he does not want to continue fighting for tax cuts.
He, like Corker, believes that Republicans can score a deal with the President—let him raise taxes for the top 2 percent and then get something in return. Cole hopes his fellow Republican representatives will see the light and follow suit.
Many have now expressed agreement, but it wouldn’t be the Republic party without extreme conservative tea partiers rallying against such a notion. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) of Texas summed up their entire stance on Sunday’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” when he stated, “No Republic wants to vote for a rate tax increase.”
As outlined by Christian Science Monitor, the plan Obama set forth would cut taxes for individuals making less than $200,000 and couples making less than $250,000. Over the next 10 years, this would help raise $1.6 trillion in revenue. On the other end of the spectrum, House Speaker John Boehner’s plan includes reducing tax breaks on the top earners and cutting $1.5 trillion in spending, particularly by reducing Social Security payments and raising the eligibility age for Medicare.
While some Republicans have started to agree on high tax rates for the wealthy, will the predominantly Republican House ever go for it? Ultimately, if they do agree, the question is whether or not there are strings attached in terms of budget cuts.
It’s not good, clean politics, but when is it ever?