With the midterm election campaign heating up, a small but growing number of Democrats are joining Republicans in opposing a tax hike for the rich. While the Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders favor extending George W. Bush's tax cuts for couples making less than $250,000 a year, but letting the breaks expire for wealthier Americans, some moderate Democrats fear a voter backlash. Others say it's unwise to raise taxes in hard times when we need people to pump money into the economy. Is Obama's plan to make the wealthy pay more taxes collapsing? (Watch a Fox Business report about Dems and the tax cuts)
Yes, Dems realize Obama's leading them to disaster: Bush's tax cuts "sparked" the last "rebound for unemployment," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, and, as Dems belatedly realize, "socking" people with a tax hike now will have the opposite effect. That said, extending Bush's cuts is tricky for the Democrats — it thwarts their strategy of blaming Bush for everything — but, if they don't, they'll trigger another recession.
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Obama still has the upper hand: President Obama can still beat these "weenie" contrarian Dems — "along with the Republicans they are enabling — at their own game," says Jed Lewison at Daily Kos. The defenders of the rich "have virtually no leverage": Obama could veto an extension for the wealthy, leaving his opponents no way to defeat his plan other than letting the tax cuts expire for everybody. "If that's a fight they want to have, it's a fight the administration should welcome."
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To prevail, Democrats need unity they don't have: The Democratic majority that wants to get rid of the Bush cuts for the rich has dwindled to 59 percent, according to a poll of party insiders, says James A. Barnes at National Journal. With the rest of Democrats showing no appetite for this battle — at least, not until after November's elections — it will be hard to "overcome determined GOP opposition" to raising anyone's taxes.
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