Yesterday House Minority Leader John Boehner stunned pretty much no body when he said that when push comes to shove he would support extending the “Bush tax cuts” for the middle class even if the bill did not include extending those tax cuts for upper income segments.
“If the only option I have is to vote for those at 250 and below, of course I’m going to do that. But I’m going to do everything I can to fight to make sure that we extend the current tax rates for all Americans,” Boehner said.
Despite what the progressive media will tell you this is not a flip-flop.Boehner never said he wouldn’t vote for extending the tax cuts sans the cuts for upper income, he has only said it is a bad move not to give everyone the tax cuts, exactly what he said yesterday.
This was a brilliant political move by the minority leader taking one of the liberal’s weapons out of their hands. Since Boehner’s announcement the progressives have been all over him calling his position a flip-flop. Perhaps instead, they should be looking at their own house, because the Blue Dog Democrats are sending a letter to Nancy Pelosi asking her to extend the tax cuts to all income brackets.
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POLITICO has obtained a draft of a letter from rank-and-file lawmakers to Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer urging them not to let tax rates rise for Americans at the highest income levels.
“We believe in times of economic recovery it makes good sense to maintain things as they are in the short term, to provide families and businesses the certainty required to plan and make sound budget decisions,” the House members write in a letter that was being circulated for signatures on Friday and is expected to be delivered today or Tuesday.
Reps. Jim Matheson (Utah), Glenn Nye (Virginia), Melissa Bean (Ill.) and Gary Peters (Mich.) drafted the letter and are working to gather support, mostly from the moderate Blue Dog and New Democrat coalitions, for at least a temporary extension of the rates for top income earners as well as those in the lower brackets.
Pelosi, who rose to power as a leader of the Progressive Caucus, is her party’s chief advocate for hiking tax rates for folks in the top two income brackets while freezing them for couples making $250,000 or less.
Here’s the issue for Pelosi, if the upper incomes are eliminated from the continued tax cuts, the blue dogs who are generally Democrats representing traditionally GOP districts, will see their already in a precarious reelection position deteriorate. If she goes along with the blue dog request she will anger an already deflated progressive base across the US, hurting the liberal Democrats because their base may decide to sit home on election day.
In their letter, the blue dogs correctly argue that Obama and Pelosi are misjudging the impact increased taxes on high-end earners would have on the economic recovery.
“While those in the highest income brackets comprise only two to three percent of American taxpayers, economists estimate that they are responsible for 25 percent of national consumer spending. As 70 percent of our economy is driven by consumer spending, this is not the time to jeopardize further growth,” they write. “It is also estimated that up to one-third of high-income taxpayers are small business owners, our nation’s job creators and the backbone of our economic recovery.”
They have even recommended a way for the tax cuts fit within the PAYGO rules
“Paying for a short-term extension of the high-income brackets is possible without accruing new debt by using existing surplus funds identified on the PAYGO scorecard, while the PAYGO law already allows for the middle class tax cuts to be extended. This method protects all taxpayers by not adding further to our national debt,” they write. “We urge quick passage of legislation to extend the tax cuts so that American families and businesses have the certainty required to plan and make informed decisions. The sooner we act, the sooner our nation’s economy will benefit. We look forward to working with you to extend all income tax rates.”
It seems as if the Progressive Democrats have backed themselves into a corner, either way they go on the tax cuts, they are damaging the prospects of retaining their majority in the house.