Writing for Politico‘s Arena , PPI President Will Marshall discuses Obama’s fiscal cliff policy:
President Obama holds the whip hand on taxes.
He campaigned and won on the explicit promise of raising tax rates on the wealthiest two percent of Americans. It’s the closet thing to a mandate the 2012 elections produced. And polls make it clear that the public will blame Republicans if there’s no deal and we go off the cliff.
Deal or no deal, tax rates on the rich are going up. Unless they have a political death wish, Republicans can no longer hold the Norquist line. So they’d be wise to negotiate with the president, angling for a top rate lower than the default rate of 39.6, in return for a promise to revisit the issue next year in the context of comprehensive tax reform. The more lawmakers succeed next year in broadening the tax base – by closing tax loopholes and preferences – the stronger argument they can make for lowering tax rates.