Over at Nihil Obstat, Rastamick offers his usual acerbic and on-point observations about the Republican rain dance in favor of continuing Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. President Obama favors ending the cuts for anyone making more than $250,000; Orange John Boehner naturally terms this a tax increase on the American people and cites the support of Mark Zandi, whom he calls the President's "favorite Republican economist."
Mark Zandi -- the economist cited by Boner as supporting the Republican position on the Bush tax cuts -- wrote this in the Washington Post on Aug 1:
The Bush tax cuts should be extended permanently for families with annual incomes of less than $250,000 and should be phased out slowly for those making more than that.Raising taxes on anyone now, when the economic recovery is so fragile, would be a mistake. Our fiscal problems are daunting, and tax increases will probably need to be part of the eventual solution, but if the recovery were to unravel and a new recession were to begin -- a possibility that can't be dismissed, particularly if tax rates increase -- our problems would become overwhelming.Allowing the tax cuts for high-income households to expire over, say, a three-year period would not harm the economy. No more than 3 percent of households would be affected, and these effects would be small; the increased rates are unlikely to change decisions about working and investing. Besides, the economy performed admirably during the 1990s when upper-income households paid these same higher tax rates.None of this is to say that the tax code should be off-limits when deciding how to fix our fiscal problems. Everything must be on the table. Past experience with fiscal austerity at home and overseas strongly suggests that it is best for the economy's long-run performance to restrain government spending rather than raise taxes. But both must be part of our national debate.
In other words, what Boehner characterizes as unqualified support for the Republican position (I can already hear Orange John quoting in Breibartian style that "raising taxes on anyone now...would be a mistake.") is in truth a modification of the Administration's position.
Not only that, it's a position the R's could probably get if they negotiated in good faith. The delicious irony is that, should the Democrats succeed in eliminating the tax cut without a phaseout, its "victims" could take the position that Republican intransigence cost them money.