Mitt Romney’s tax breaks did not win the last election.
President Obama extended the Bush tax cuts for all Americans in 2010 to order to secure the only job creation measures he was going to get out of the Republicans. He said then that he would not do so again. But Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) have indicated that they want a short-term extension of the tax cuts and the sequester spending cuts that are set to begin in January.
Their plan is to get past the president’s glow of re-election and deep into 2013 when the president’s promise and mandate to raise taxes on the rich will have faded. Then they’ll craft tax reform that lets the rich keep or compound their tax breaks.
Don’t expect that to happen.
“That’s not going to happen,” a top Democratic Senate aide told The Huffington Post. “There’s not going to be any extension of the top two rates, short-term or otherwise.”
This reassurance is reassuring but it also makes perfect sense. The president engineered this situation to work out exactly this way. He can let the tax cuts expire and then dare the Republicans not to pass the tax cuts for the middle class next year. Or he can include the end of the tax breaks for the rich as part of a “grand bargain,” which will give him a lot of leeway in making the spending cuts and entitlement reforms that Republicans will demand.
Boehner and the GOP know they’re in a hole and the president has all the cards. They could have gotten a much better deal in 2011, now they’re stuck and facing possible civil war in the party over the tax breaks for the rich ending.
Republican deficit scare talk worked when the president was facing re-election. But now, the president isn’t so impressed. And that’s good for the middle class.
Photo credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza