Saturday, July 14

GOP opposing tax hike on top earners is losing issue

Okay, I’m as conservative and anti-Obozo as they come, but I gotta say that Republicans threatening to vote against an extension of the Bush tax cuts because the Dem proposal doesn’t extend that extension to people making over $250K/year seems to be a *losing issue for the GOP.*

What it says to most people is that GOP congressional leaders would choose not to extend the tax cuts to anyone, if the other option was to let the Dems raise taxes a couple of percent on top earners.

I’m well aware that an extra two percent on top earners will do essentially zip to reduce our deficit and debt, and that if the Dems succeed in raising tax rates on that group this time, they’ll lower the threshold next time. Yes and yes, I get it. But hear me out:

GOP House members need to queue up a list of things we want but Dems don’t, and agree to concede on the two percent tax hike on top earners if the Dems will agree to whatever our matching concession is. The idea is, the Dems will bitch and moan and whine and reject, and that will give the GOP the perfect defense:

We offered to do it if they’d do X or Y or Z or W, but the Dems rejected every offer we made. That shows that what they really want is NOT higher taxes on top incomes, but simply to blackmail conservatives by threatening to block extension of the Bush tax cuts for *everyone* if they didn’t get their way. Is that your idea of cooperation, or bipartisanship, or a new, more civil tone? Sure doesn’t sound like it to us.

Ever seen that poster where someone is holding a gun to a dog's head, and the caption is "One more [something] and the dog gets it."? It's effective because the dog looks innocent and surprised, and clearly didn't do anything wrong, but is being threatened (jokingly) to force someone else to do/not do something.

In this case, Dems are holding all unfortunate, struggling taxpayers hostage--gun to the head--to force the GOP to agree to raise tax rates on top incomes. If we do, they will then cheer endlessly: "Look, peasants, we fought--for YOU--to raise taxes on the rich, and we WON!! Yay, and vote Dem." And that will be effective.

What we need to do is change the game on them: Force *them* to either concede on a point we want, or else *decline* an offer by the GOP to agree to a small tax hike on top incomes. If the latter, it shows their true colors to everyone. And of course if they take the deal, the GOP at least gets something we want and couldn't otherwise get-- like a federal law allowing every state to require a photo ID to vote, to use just one example.

Of course the devil is in the details--and given our current leadership I wouldn't be surprised if the GOP ended up trading higher taxes for a handful of magic beans. But the *tactic* is a good one.

End of transmission.

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