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.
"How can Dems extend Bush tax cuts while running against Bush?"
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."
"McClatchy: Handful of Dems fighting to extend Bush tax cuts for wealthy"
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.
"Does GOP hold political high card on Bush tax cut debate?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ban PowerPoint!
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
Subscribe to the Week