The Republicans seem ready to raise revenue from the rich. Not raise taxes, mind you–just revenue. But still, the comments of House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday sounded like a slight thaw.
“We have got to cut spending and I believe it is appropriate to put revenues on the table,” said Boehner. “Now, the revenues that we are putting on the table are going to come from guess who? The rich.” He added that “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.”
Boehner’s plan would cut $2.2 trillion from the deficit with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in tax reform.
Obama, of course, has argued that tax increases on the top 2% of American’s top earners are non-negotiable. Dems don’t believe merely eliminating tax deductions and loopholes will raise enough revenue. And without a deal–the so-called fiscal cliff–everyone’s taxes will go up come January.
Hardball host Chris Matthews argued on Wednesday the negotiation tides seem to be turning in Democrats’ favor. He pointed to conservatives like Byron York and Bill Kristol who admit the GOP would “face hell” if they don’t come up with an agreement. He also took note of chatter from some Republican lawmakers to continue the tax cuts for the 98% now, to avoid the financial cliff. And finally, he pointed to Boehner, who seems to have adopted the moral argument that the “rich should get socked too.”
MSNBC’s Alex Wagner agreed on Hardball, saying Boehner’s remarks are “something that would have been an anathema to the Republican party in 2011. The fact that John Boehner is out there saying we’re asking the rich to pay more in taxes is not something they’d ever say in 2011.” Wagner called it was a “shocking reversal.”
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell reiterated the Democratic view that without higher taxes on the rich, Boehner’s plan wouldn’t work. The “math doesn’t add up when you try to do this just on deductions,” he said. “You need to do both deductions and loopholes and of course raise the rate. That’s the only way the math works.”