Democrats say they are willing to see America go over the “fiscal cliff” if Republicans don’t go along with Democratic Party ideas for raising taxes on higher income earners when the Bush tax rates expire at the end of this year.
“Emboldened by signs that GOP resistance to new taxes may be weakening, senior Democrats say they are prepared to weather a fiscal event that could plunge the nation back into recession if the new year arrives without an acceptable compromise,” the Washington Post reported Sunday.
Effectively, the Democrats are saying: “Our way or the highway.”
“If we can’t get a good deal, a balanced deal that calls on the wealthy to pay their fair share, then I will absolutely continue this debate into 2013,” Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) plans to say in a speech to be given Monday.
According to the Post, “the Senate’s No. 4 Democrat and the leader of the caucus’s campaign arm, plans to make the clearest case yet for going over what some have called the ‘fiscal cliff.’”
Instead of working with Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax rates for everyone, Democrats say they will either raise taxes on the wealthy, or else they will let taxes for everyone increase.
According to the Washington Post:
The halls of the U.S. Capitol are already teeming with people warning of disaster if lawmakers fail to defuse a New Year’s budget bomb scheduled to raise taxes for every American taxpayer and slash spending at the Pentagon and most other federal agencies.
If that happens, Murray plans to say the debate is reset.
“Every proposal will be a tax-cut proposal,” an excerpt from her speech says.
“If middle-class families start seeing more money coming out of their paychecks next year, are Republicans really going to stand up and fight for new tax cuts for the rich? Are they going to continue opposing the Democrats’ middle-class tax cut once the slate has been wiped clean? I think they know this would be an untenable political position,” she plans to say when she delivers the speech at the Brookings Institution.
Murray also plans to say: “Democrats are willing to compromise. We just need a partner.”
But it seems that her idea of “compromise” means Republicans must do as they demand, or else.
According to the Post, the strategy is “risky,” and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the Democrats’ position an “outrageous ultimatum.”
“At a moment when the American people are reeling from the slowest recovery in modern times … and just five months away from the economic body blow that will result if tax rates spike, as scheduled, on January 1st, the president’s solution is to take more money away from the very business folks we are counting on to create the jobs that we need,” McConnell said Thursday on the Senate floor.
“Naturally, Republicans oppose this. The way we see it, nobody should see an income tax hike right now.”
The strategy is a risky one for Democrats, as it comes on the heels of a new McClatchy poll that finds a majority favor extending the Bush tax rates for all income levels.
“The poll found 52 percent of registered voters saying they want all the tax cuts extended, including the tax cuts for incomes above $250,000, while 43 percent want the cuts extended just for incomes below that threshold,” McClatchy said on Friday.
“More than a third of Obama supporters (37%), and forty percent of Democrats overall, want the current rates to remain in place. A narrow plurality of women want them left in place, 49/44,” Ed Morrissey wrote at Hot Air.
According to McClatchy, support for extending the tax rates comes from some of Obama’s most reliable supporters, including minorities, young voters and the poor – the very people who will be hurt the most by Murray’s ultimatum.