I know Bill Kristol doesn't speak for all conservatives, but his is a major conservative voice that commands attention. So this should not be taken lightly:
Conservative commentator and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said Sunday the Republican Party should accept new ideas, including the much-criticized suggestion by Democrats that taxes be allowed to go up on the wealthy.
"It won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "It really won't, I don't think. I don't really understand why Republicans don't take Obama's offer."
"Really? The Republican Party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic and half of whom live in Hollywood and are hostile?" he asked.
Reaction is already coming in, including this sympathetic response from Victor Davis Hanson at the Nation's Review's "The corner" blog:
Bill Kristol has a point: Given that the wealthiest counties in the U.S. are mostly blue-voting elites who caricature Republicans for not voting for higher taxes, maybe Republicans should focus on ensuring no new taxes on the $80,000 to $250,000 upper-middle-class households and let the tax chips fall where they may on the mostly Obama households above that. But only if Republicans demand in return for granting Obama’s “pay your fair share”/”you didn’t build that”/”fat cat” demands — which will only bring in revenues to account for about 8 percent of the annual deficit (this isn’t 1995, and something like the grand Gingrich/Clinton bargain won’t do much to today’s deficits) — that Obama comes up with the other 92 percent in cuts. As it is now, we are still subject to the election-winning demagoguery that not upping the tax rate by 3 or 4 percentage points on the $250,000-and-above brackets caused the gargantuan debt. What would Obama do after he got his populist rhetoric fulfilled and still faced a $900 billion annual deficit? Ask for ever more taxes?
What do you think? Does Kristol ahve a point?
If you believe the claim that many of those "millionaires" who'll be taxed more are the very small-business owners we need to be out there creating jobs (and I tend to), then raising taxes on them "a little" might indeed hurt the country. And government spending cuts are always promised but seldom delivered, and Republicans who pretend that isn't so aren't doing us any favors.
I tend to side with Grover Norquist on this one:
The president campaigned for reelection on ending the Bush-era tax cuts for incomes above $250,000, and has said he would veto any extension of those rates, which would likely be part of any deal to avert the fiscal cliff. Obama also said tax hikes would be needed as part of a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction, which would include spending cuts.
But during a series of appearance on morning TV shows, Norquist, the leader of Americans for Tax Reform, tried to put the brakes on any deal that would include tax rate increases. At one point, he mischaracterized Obama’s positions.
“Obama is not interested in taxing the rich,” Norquist said on CBS. “He admits there’s no money there. He runs a $6.7 trillion debt assuming he raises taxes on high-income people.”
The math should be obvious. If we want to continue big government, and want more money to pay for it, the big money is in the middle class, not the handful of rich people. Just saying, "Give 'em an inch" is the last thing we should do.