Fiscal Cliff: Decoupling Conservatives from Their Core Principles

Boehnerfiscal

There are many ways to surrender—and some congressional Republicans seem bent on exploring them all.

In the debate over the fiscal cliff, the President’s position is simple: The Republicans must capitulate on income tax rate hikes, and all other serious issues are not up for discussion.

Never mind that Obama already raises taxes on upper-income taxpayers through the 3.8 percent Medicare surtax imposed under Obamacare. Never mind that the tax hikes will weaken an economy stumbling so badly that the Federal Reserve announced it would double its efforts to keep the economy from recession. Never mind that Obama’s approach likely puts the kibosh on any hopes for individual or corporate income tax reform. Never mind that the revenues from the tax hikes are a small drop in a very big bucket compared to projected budget deficits.

In his view, President Obama ran for re-election on, and now has a mandate for, raising income tax rates. In fact, his mandate is solely to continue to press his case. Ours is not a parliamentary system, and Obama is not the prime minister. And so he faces the pesky reality that House Republicans ran opposing higher tax rates and that they, too, were returned to Washington in the majority to press their case. Their mandate is no greater, but certainly no less, than Obama’s.

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