Reports from Washington vary on how close President Obama and Speaker John Boehner are to striking a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. But the emergence of Boehner’s apparent back-up plan in case they don’t reach an agreement caught my eye.
This morning, Boehner said his “Plan B” is for the House to extend all the rates for taxpayers earning $1 million or less per year while raising them on those who make more than that, and leaving the broader discussion for next year. Hmmm … who has suggested just such an approach?
[T]o, to Obama, this clearly is more about good politics than good policy. The House GOP should respond in kind.
It should pass the “Buffett Rule” bill that failed to pass the Senate in April, amended to include an extension of all current tax rates through 2013, as a down payment. While the Buffett Rule is projected to raise $47 billion during the next decade if the current tax rates for high earners are not extended, I’ve seen projections of more than $160 billion in 10 years if rates don’t rise. That’s an increase of approximately $16 billion next year, and it comes from real millionaires — not Obama’s “millionaire” couples who earn $250,00 a year.
Boehner wasn’t specific about the rate he envisions for million-dollar earners. If he was referring to the Buffett Rule, I assume he would have mentioned it by name and taken the credit for backing an Obama policy in the spirit of compromise. So I’m not exactly taking credit for the new Plan B.
But I still think it makes sense, if Boehner believes he can’t get a good deal from the president, to take away the “GOP only protects the rich” argument by proving the House is willing to raise taxes on the real “millionaires and billionaires” Obama is so fond of talking about — but insisting on more substance from Obama in any bigger deal.
– By Kyle Wingfield