CNN reports that the Republicans seem to be blinking on raising taxes for the richest Americans. Several key Republicans appear to be conceding that any deal to avert the fiscal cliff will have to include higher taxes on the rich.
A GOP source told CNN that talks between staff members on both sides resumed Thursday for the first time this week, after Obama and Boehner spoke by phone the day before.How certain are they? Even Tom Coburn--the closest thing in the Senate to a simon-pure teabagger--is willing to go along with a tax hike.
Meanwhile, retiring Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio told CNN that he sensed a shift in the House GOP approach during a conference meeting Wednesday.
"The sense was that there's a growing number of folks in our party that are saying, 'You know what, the president has won this round relative to the rates, but we need to you to sit down and get the second half of the deal and that's the spending,'" LaTourette said.
Coburn, a notorious fiscal hawk, told MSNBC on Wednesday that he would support higher tax rates on wealthier Americans as part of a broader deal to avoid the fiscal cliff and broader deficit crisis.Amazing what happens when it sinks in that your party will be blamed if we go over the cliff, isn't it?
"I know we have to raise revenue," Coburn said. "I don't really care which way we do it. Actually, I would rather see rates go up than do it the other way, because it gives us a greater chance to reform the tax code and broaden the base in the future."
Boehner is still trying to keep a tax increase out of any deal--but he admits that ultimately, the rich will pay more.
After meeting with his conference Wednesday, Boehner told reporters that the rich will be paying more, but he still hoped to limit any increase to ending tax deductions and loopholes rather than Obama's demand for higher rates.Hmmm--Coburn having more sense than Boehner? Now THAT doesn't happen very often.
"We have got to cut spending and I believe it is appropriate to put revenues on the table," Boehner said. "Now, the revenues that we are putting on the table are going to come from guess who? The rich."
He continued, "There are ways to limit deductions, close loopholes and have the same people pay more of their money to the federal government without raising tax rates, which we believe will harm our economy."
The bottom line--we've won this round.