But if Obama wins, the GOP would have no leverage “” political or procedural “” to force him to abandon his pledge to raise taxes on family income over $250,000, according to senior Republicans in the House and the Senate.
So they are beginning to contemplate a compromise that would let taxes go up in exchange for Democratic concessions on GOP priorities.
At the very least, that would mean protecting the Pentagon from the budget ax, which is set to whack $55 billion out of national security accounts next year. But it could also mean major changes to Medicare, which many Republicans said could quickly become the new front in the partisan battle over the budget.
“I hope, obviously, the status quo doesn’t prevail” on Nov. 6. “But if things stay as they are, and all the players are generally the same .”‰.”‰. finding a responsible reform for Medicare is the secret to unleashing very productive talks that would put in place a balanced solution to our fiscal problems,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). “If you deal with the Medicare issue, then Republicans are far more open to looking at revenues.”
Difficult details would have to be hammered out. And any compromise would face head winds in the House, where a large bloc of GOP freshmen opposed new taxes during a messy fight to raise the federal debt limit last summer.
Many say they that are still not ready to agree to higher taxes and that they will press to maintain tax rates for families at all income levels no matter who wins the White House.
“As long as we have control of the House, I’m going to be really surprised if we capitulate on what’s essentially a core fundamental of conservative orthodoxy,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).
So the GOP will cave and allow tax increases, and in return they’ll get a Obama promise to raise federal spending by $55 billion. That’s just great. I know it’s defense, and how can we expect to defend our country with a military budget that’s only as big as the next 20 countries combined? And then there’s that “Medicare concession.” Memo to the GOP; Obama already wants to cut Medicare, it’s part of the health reform bill. Indeed hasn’t the GOP been warning about Medicare cuts? The Dems know that if they don’t reduce the rapid growth of Medicare, they’ll have no money for all those other Democratic goals (child care, infrastructure, medical subsides for the uninsured, higher teacher salaries, etc.)
And Rep. Trey Gowdy reminds me of Mill’s comment about the “stupid party.” Do the House Republicans not even realize that taxes will rise next year, regardless of whether the GOP “capitulates” or not? The Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire. Try negotiating that point with Obama after he’s just won the final election of his life. Are the GOP Congressmen going to threaten to hold their breath until their face turns blue? Obama will let the tax cuts expire and immediately propose re-instating them for everyone making under $200,000. And the GOP will do what?
Last year I argued that the GOP was making a big mistake by not showing a willingness to negotiate with Obama on the budget. Let’s review the facts:
1. Obama was very anxious to negotiate, as he wanted to run for re-election on the claim that he’d been able to get beyond the old partisan divides in Washington. After all, he’d promised to do so back in 2008. He knew that a grand agreement would undercut the GOP argument on the economy. And he has the foreign policy issue wrapped up.
2. If the GOP had gone all in for Simpson-Bowles, they would have had to give a little ground on tax increases, but they would have gotten major tax reform. Lower rates on income taxes in exchange for far fewer loopholes. Isn’t that what Romney claims to want? (Except the tax revenue increase, which he only wants secretly.) And also spending cuts.
3. By going all in for Simpson-Bowles, the GOP would have been seen as “bi-partisan” and all those centrist DC reporters that Krugman hates would have swooned over the party. Especially if Obama held out and refused to negotiate. Ryan would be seen as a hero. Instead centrist reporters now (correctly) see the GOP as a rigid ideological party in hock to the Tea Party. And that image will cause them to lose the independents, and lose the November election.
Compromise was the right thing to do. Instead the GOP tried to destroy Obama, regardless of how badly it hurt the country. Now they are about to lose everything. And they’ll end up with a far inferior policy mix to what they could have negotiated in 2011.
What a stupid party.
PS. I guess this post contradicts my previous post, where I claimed not to have “strong views” on either party.