This week, the fate of the Bush tax cuts looms large as Congress debates whether or not to extend them beyond this year. President Obama would like to keep the low rates for everyone except the country's wealthiest individuals. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Sunday he'd prefer extending tax cuts for all but would rather go with Obama's plan than none at all—a compromise the conservative news site Daily Caller labeled as "Going soft." Can the two parties reach a consensus?
The Right Will Kill Boehner for This, writes Stuart Shapiro at Liberaland: "The left has been saying for a while that the politics on this is as good as the policy. If Boehner’s announcement holds, once he gets barbecued in the right wing blogosphere (I can’t wait to see what the Club For Growth has to say — maybe they’ll primary Boehner), then this will be a major win for Obama and for the country."
- It's Up to the Dems Now, writes Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway: "The ball is in the hands of the Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate. It would seem to be fairly easy for them to pull together a bill extending the tax cuts for Americans earning less than $ 250,000. Its hard to believe that any politician in a tight race, Republican or Democrat, is going to want to go on record as being against tax cuts immediately prior to an election. If they don’t do it, then they face the risk of losing control of one or both Houses of Congress and thus giving the GOP an excellent opportunity to extend the tax cuts across the board. So, what are you going to do Democrats?"
- Boehner Said What? "That's very Keynesian of him to have the concern that 'raising taxes in a very weak economy is a really, really bad idea,'" observes Mark Thoma at Economist's View. "And there's an easy response for Democrats... The Democrats say okay, if that's your concern, why not transfer the tax cuts, temporarily, to lower income groups who are much more likely to spend the money, or use it to backfill state and local budgets to stop further job losses? There are all sorts of ways to use the money that would be more stimulative than continuing the tax cuts for the wealthy, so if your objection is that raising taxes in a recession is 'a really, really bad idea,' then transfer the tax cuts where they will do the most good."
- No Easy Solution for Dems, writes Jonathan Allen
at Politico: "The situation may well be lose-lose-lose for Democrats.
If they raise taxes on higher income Americans, they risk alienating
moderate voters and campaign contributors in closely contested races in
Republican-leaning districts. If they freeze the rates for everyone,
they risk depressing an already deflated liberal base in districts all
across the country — including those represented by centrist Democrats.
And, if they kick the can down the road with a one- or two-year
extension for the highest earners, President Barack Obama will have to
wrestle with the issue again heading into his 2012 re-election