Our View: Is GOP softening on tax hike?

Dec. 11, 2012 @ 01:13 AM

It’s looking like President Obama may be winning in his demand for higher tax rates on “the rich.” Some polls are showing a majority of Americans would be OK with a tax hike on wealthier families. And now, some Republicans are saying the GOP might have to give on tax hikes to get spending concessions from the president.
The president was on the road again Monday — this time in Michigan — for a campaign-style appearance to push his proposal to raise taxes on families making more than $250,000 a year. Obama campaigned hard on that idea; it was a centerpiece of his re-election bid. He won the election partly based on that proposal. It’s unlikely that he’s going to change his mind.
Over the weekend, news reports indicated that some in the GOP may be starting to see the president’s tax hike as a potential bargaining chip.  And given the Obama’s unwillingness to move off his position, that may well be a good strategy.
“There is a growing group of folks looking at this and realizing that we don’t have a lot of cards as it relates to the tax issue before year end,” GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said Sunday on Fox News.
Corker correctly noted that if Republicans agreed to the president’s tax hike idea, then the focus of discussions could shift to spending cuts and entitlement program reform. That, of course, is where the focus really needs to be in this matter.
The nation’s fiscal problems were not caused because the upper tax rate for higher income Americans dropped to 35 percent under President George W. Bush. And the nation’s fiscal problems will not be solved by raising that tax rate back to 39 percent.
This nation’s greatest fiscal problem is that the national debt rose from $5.7 trillion to $10.4 trillion under President Bush, and it is set to nearly double to about $20 trillion under President Obama’s watch. The federal government spends too much, and that habit must end before it destroys the nation.
If it takes a GOP compromise on tax rates to get the nation’s leaders and its people focused on controlling and cutting excessive federal spending, then such a move may be well worth taking.