Tue Nov 27, 2012, 06:59 PM
DonViejo (19,420 posts)
Fiscal Cliff, Day 21: You Call That a Compromise?
by Daniel Gross Nov 27, 2012 1:15 PM EST
As the fiscal cliff nears, some Republicans are backing off their anti-tax orthodoxy—but they’re still living in the past. Daniel Gross on why the concessions aren't good enough.
It’s Day 21 of the Fiscal Cliff Hostage Situation.
Three weeks after his reelection, President Obama is showing no signs that he’s willing to release the Bush-era tax cuts from his grasp. In New York and elsewhere, CEOs are ordering up their private jets to ferry them to Washington for a White House meeting scheduled on Wednesday. Obama is hosting small-business owners too. Policy wonks are crunching numbers on potential solutions. And Republicans are getting antsy.
Indeed, the signs of desperation are rising. For 20 years, ever since President George H.W. Bush signed on to a deal to raise taxes, the orthodoxy has held that a Republican elected official can never talk about, accede to, wink at, or vote for a piece of legislation that would raise tax rates or tax revenues. The chief enforcer of this ideological rectitude has been Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who has forced generations of Republicans to sign his no-tax pledge. Violators have faced often-fatal primary challenges.
But pledges can’t release a hostage. And three weeks into the crisis, elected Republicans are finally waking up to the reality that if no evasive action is taken, tax rates on income, capital gains, and dividends will rise in just five weeks. Averting such an unwanted effect requires reaching a deal with President Obama and the Democrats. And reaching such a deal requires acknowledging a need for more revenues.
It took a while, but Republicans have started to throw Commissar Norquist under the bus. Last Wednesday, on the eve of Thanksgiving, Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said “times have changed significantly, and I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.” Appearing on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he would be willing to violate the pledge “for the good of the country.” Rep. Peter King of New York echoed the sentiment.
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