Weekend Update: More Republicans Agree with Raising Rates on the Wealthy

Over the weekend, more Republicans joined with lawmakers like Senator Tom Coburn and Congressman Steve LaTourette in saying that higher tax rates for the top 2 percent of incomes will be part of any balanced agreement to avert the fiscal cliff. Senator Bob Corker said on Fox News Sunday:

There’s a growing body of folks who are willing to look at the rate on the top 2 percent.” [Fox News Sunday, 12/9]

The trend is growing beyond lawmakers, expanding to the business community that Republicans are claiming to protect. Just yesterday, Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric said:

We need revenue, everybody knows we need revenue… Bowles-Simpson, there’s not been one commission that says we can do this just on spending cuts. There’s going to have to be revenue. I think Speaker Boehner’s the only guy who can lead us on that…He’s gotta take the heat and I trust he can do it.” [CBS “This Morning,” 12/9]

Perhaps this growing consensus is based on the increasing number of polls that show the majority of Americans support raising taxes on the highest earners. The latest poll out today continues this trend:

“A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll finds that 60 percent of respondents support raising taxes on households that earn more than $250,000 a year and 64 percent want to raise taxes on large corporations.” [POLITICO, 12/10]

All this just shows that Republicans have an increasingly untenable position to sell in protecting tax cuts for the wealthy. They know how to get out of it: by passing a balanced, bipartisan deficit reduction plan that includes spending cuts and higher tax rates on income above $250,000.