RSS
Will Democrats block Obama's 'millionaire's tax'?
It's a given that much of the GOP will oppose the president's plan to raise taxes — but it's possible that some centrist Democrats might balk, too
 
President Obama's tax proposal faces obvious Republican opposition, but now some centrist Democrats are also hinting that they'll resist the president's strategy.
President Obama's tax proposal faces obvious Republican opposition, but now some centrist Democrats are also hinting that they'll resist the president's strategy.
Brooks Kraft/Corbis

Unsurprisingly, Republicans in Congress are pretty uniformly opposed to President Obama's $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan, which features $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue over 10 years — raised primarily by increasing taxes on the wealthy. But even some centrist Democrats — especially those facing tough re-election battles next year — are "lukewarm" or noncommittal about various aspects of Obama's tax proposals, even the populist "millionaire's tax." Will opposition from his own party sink Obama's plan?

Yes. Obama failed to get his party in line: So much for Obama's attempt to "paint Republicans as obstructionists," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Now that Democrats seem poised to block the president's plan themselves, it's pretty clear Team Obama "failed to do the kind of political grunt work necessary up front to develop a united front." Some political journalists think the Democrats can be "wooed back into the fold," but endangered red-state Blue Dogs won't back a tax hike if they want to keep their jobs.
"Centrist Dems backing away from Obama's class-warfare strategy?"

Not necessarily. Most Dems are thrilled with Obama's new boldness: Sure, some Democrats have been quick to point out that the plan will be amended, or have quibbled with specific policy proposals, says Sam Stein at The Huffington Post. But after Obama unveiled his plan, "the predominant expression was one of relief," even elation, among Democrats of all stripes. Even centrist Democrats seem to welcome the lack of "preemptive concessions" in Obama's opening bid. The president's party is hardly disavowing his proposal.
"Obama debt reduction plan calms Democrats' concerns on and off Hill"

Plus, Obama can raise taxes even if some Dems defect: The new tax on millionaires is probably "just another bargaining chip" that's unlikely to become law, says John Healey in the Los Angeles Times. What Obama "most covets" is an overhaul of the entire tax code — something "conservatives could embrace too if they weren't so beholden to Grover Norquist." And remember, Obama's trump card is that he can raise taxes at the end of 2012 just by blocking an extension of the Bush tax cuts. For that, he'd only need enough congressional votes to sustain a veto — which means Obama could still get his way even if several Dems oppose him.
"President Obama's tax leverage"

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week