House Minority Leader John Boehner caused a stir over the weekend saying that if it came down to it, he'd vote for a stand alone bill that extended the Bush tax cuts only on those earning less than $250,000. I think that ultimately, he has it right. If Republicans were to hold firm and refuse to vote for any measure that did not maintain current tax rates at all income levels, then they risk a scenario under which all tax rates go up, and which Democrats can argue that they tried to cut taxes for the middle class, but Republicans stood in the way to protect the wealthy. Yet if Republicans were to vote for extending the Bush era tax rates at the lower income levels while arguing for a full extension, it pulls the rug out from under the Democrats. They can no longer accuse Republicans of being the party of the rich or being intransigent, and yet Republicans can still accuse Democrats of allowing a massive tax hike during a deep recession.
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