The fight against taxing the top 2% at the old 39% rate looks like it's virtually over. There are signs, Jonathan Chait writes, that hiking rates on top earners may make sense now to Republicans. Conservative columnist Byron York reports that Republicans have come to believe, like it or not, a change in tax rate is a done deal.
Chait thinks the Republican party owes us something more than just giving in.
A little “sorry for the last two decades of economic policy” from the Republicans would be nice here. ...Jonathan Chait, Daily Intel
Most of us would agree. At least an apology! But in the end it comes down to the painful political mechanics of giving in to the President.
The main impediment, as I’ve argued, is the mechanism of accepting this reality. Republicans may not want taxes to go up, but what they really don’t want is to be seen as complicit in a tax hike. The GOP’s options for dealing with the expiration of the top-end tax cuts are as follows:
- Cut a deal now (or at least before January) with Obama to set tax rates at a mutually agreeable level.
- Vote to lock in the Bush tax cuts on income under $250,000, then strike a deal with Obama next year.
- Do nothing, wait for all the tax cuts to expire, then wind up voting to extend them on income under $250,000 after the party takes a hit from public opinion.
From the standpoint of getting the best deal, and from the standpoint of broader public opinion, option No. 1 is the best and No. 3 is the worst. But from the standpoint of satisfying the internal demands of conservatives who primarily want their leaders not to “sell them out,” the order is reversed.
Option No. 1 means “voting to raise taxes.” Option No. 2 is sort of voting to raise taxes, though Republicans may use some trick like voting “present” to avoid actually casting a vote. And option No. 3 lets the higher taxes happen without any vote at all. Republicans can vote for a tax cut. ...Chait
If this involves an apology for 12 years of screwing up and screwing up badly, then I'm fine with the deal. But many of us wouldn't mind a tax change that takes into account who benefited from decimating our economy during those 12 years.
Who? Oh, the defense industry, private contractors, Republican politicians and .... well, we all have some good additions to the list. What's wrong with making the profiteers pay it back? Payback would seem a whole lot fairer just letting Republicans save face with their constituents (and funders) 12 years later.