I hope the weak-kneed Republicans don’t fall for Obama’s bluff. We all have seen how Obama “cuts spending” (See $1 trillion plus deficits each of the past 4 years of his presidency).
Officials familiar with the White House position say Obama plans zero flexibility on his insistence on a higher tax rate for top earners. He plans to take what one aide called a “trust but verify” position: He will insist on a higher rate in the year-end deal. Then next year, during tax-reform negotiations, “the onus will be on Republicans to propose something that raises the same amount of revenue,” the aide said. “He’s going to pocket their rate hike on the top two brackets at first, and then he’s going to say to them in the 2013 process that we set up: If you think you can realize these same revenues in a different way, prove it to me.”
A rate hike would be the most difficult element for Boehner to sell to his own members. But Republicans are already trying to build the case — both with their own members and with constituents — that whatever the final deal, they fought hard. And the speaker has drawn a sharp distinction between increasing revenue, which he will accept, and raising rates, which he has said he will not. Kevin Smith, Boehner’s communications director, said: “We have no intention of increasing tax rates. Doing so will hurt small business and destroy jobs.”