Why never raising taxes has become rigid doctrine in Republican ideology is anyone’s guess, but it continues to look like the orthodoxy is finally beginning to crack. Senators Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss have both come out against Grover Norquist’s pledge to never raise taxes, and today, former Republican Congressman and current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough delivered a scathing attack on wealth inequality and the ridiculously low tax rate the richest Americans are subjected to:
You see again this huge divide between the richest Americans and the poorest Americans… and you sit there going, you know what, these people that live in these mansions and have private jets and live an extraordinary life like few Americans live — they can probably deal with a 20 percent tax rate on capital gains instead of 15 percent….There’s something immoral about these people paying fourteen, fifteen, sixteen percent of their taxes because the tax rates are the way they are while small business owners who make $250,000 a year in Manhattan and may employ four people are paying a 35% tax rate.
Taxation is the sacred cow in modern American Republicanism, but political reality dictates that their current position is untenable. Just as the Democrats capitulated to the market in the 90’s and adopted right wing economics in order to get elected, Republicans are now facing the inverse proposition two decades later. The parallel isn’t exact – after all, Obama’s economic policies are inline with Ronald Reagan’s, so anything the Republicans come up with will be by definition, extreme when compared historically – but it breaks the fundamentalist approach that taxes can never be raised. And that is extremely important if the GOP wants to remain relevant.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.