December 10, 2012


The WSJ Ed Page printed Kim Strassel's -- I thought convincing -- editorial counseling the GOP to let tax rates rise and enjoy the consequences.

Today, and a bit in its weekend program, the board takes a tougher stand:

It's certainly true that Republicans can't stop a tax rate increase if Mr. Obama is determined to make it happen. The Bush-era rates automatically go up on January 1, and the House can't extend them alone.

But Mr. Obama also can't get what he wants without House Republicans. He needs their votes to extend current rates for lower-income taxpayers, as well as to prevent the Alternative Minimum Tax from hitting 27 million more taxpayers. Most of those new AMT taxpayers live in high-tax Democratic states. Meanwhile, the death tax rate reverts to 55% and a $1 million exemption. Senate Democrats running for re-election in 2014 won't want that on their resume.

For all of his bluster about blaming Republicans, Mr. Obama also knows a budget failure would do enormous harm to his chances of second-term success. It would guarantee at least two more years of trench budget warfare and poison the chances of immigration or other reform. Another recession would be on his watch, not on George W. Bush's.

The point is that Republicans have more leverage than they imagine, and they ought to act like it. A good start would be for the House to pass a bill this week extending all the tax rates for six months and fixing the defense spending cuts coming in January. Then ask Senate Democrats to pass their own bill, and they can negotiate with the President under regular Congressional order.

I'm still in the Brave Sir Robin camp myself -- just being fair and balanced

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at December 10, 2012 2:01 PM

I am now member of the "Let it Burn" camp. "The public" has spoken; what would Miss Rand say? Go Rand Paul, pass exactly what Obama asks for and vote present. The sooner we get the Big One out of the way the sooner we can form the Second Republic, or the Confederation of Free Republics or whatever. There is no England anymore, and there are no principles on the line here worth dying at the barricades for.

Let. It. Burn.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at December 10, 2012 6:06 PM

Is there a reason the House Republicans can't just say "We already passed a plan setting spending and tax limits, and have done so every year we've been in the majority. When the Senate passes theirs, which they haven't done for 4 years, we'll meet them in conference committee and hash out the differences"? I understand that it would be a move that's easy for the press and the Democrats to caricature as obstructionism and most voters won't like it, but voters obviously don't like responsible government in general, so that's nothing new.

Posted by: AndyN at December 10, 2012 8:58 PM | What do you think? [2]