Tax Hike Nation
The anti-Mandate meme is struggling now. Part of the problem stems from the pre-election ‘unskewed polls’ craze, which led to conservatives predicting a big Romney win, which made it harder to minimize what actually happened. The bigger part of the problem: The president promised to raise some tax rates. Voters agreed.
Republicans haven’t even tried to spin this away. At this week’s meeting of the Republican Governors Association, men who had failed to elect Mitt Romney admitted that they’d lost the tax issue. ‘Elections have consequences,’ said Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia. ‘Clearly, overwhelmingly, people in America believe that raising rates on people that are in the upper income is part of the mix, the president is supporting that.’
Last year, at one of their overstuffed debates, the party’s 2012 presidential candidates were asked whether they’d accept ‘one dollar of tax increases for 10 dollars of cuts.’ They said no. Asked a similar question now, the Republicans who didn’t lose are shrugging. Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho, safe red territory, said he’d accept tax hikes ‘if I got a lot of the things that I wanted.’
There’s really no disagreement about what hikes we’re talking about, or how popular they are. In 2012, as in 2008, Barack Obama pledged to keep most of the 2001 and 2003 income tax cuts, but not the one on incomes above $250,000. It would rise from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. That would raise, probably, $823 billion over a decade. Obama’s tax stance was to the right of Bill Clinton’s and Al Gore’s, which is sort of the secret of the whole election—centrist tax policy girded by happy class warfare against a man who owned a car elevator.