Last month, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) said that the House GOP is going to throw “everything we’ve got” into ensuring that the Bush tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans don’t expire on schedule at the end of the year. President Obama and most Congressional Democrats have proposed allowing the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire, while renewing them for the lower- and middle-class.
Last night, Pence granted an interview to CNBC’s supply-side guru Larry Kudlow, who asked if the GOP was gaining any traction in its push to spend $830 billion renewing tax cuts for those at the very top of the income scale. Rather than argue his position on the merits, Pence hid behind his constituents, saying “they don’t want to see taxes go up in January on any American.” “I think if the American people let their voice be heard right now, even this fall before this election, I believe we can still preserve the tax relief of 2001 and 2003,” added Pence:
It’s one of my frustrations from being here in Washington talking to you instead of a my job fair in Muncie, Indiana today, and that is, the longer members of Congress in both parties are home, the more they’re going to continue to hear from their constituents that they want to get spending under control, they want to get the economy moving, and they don’t want to see taxes go up in January on any American. And the more the American people have a chance to deliver that message, the more I believe we might have a chance to preserve the tax relief of 2001 and 2003…I think if the American people let their voice be heard right now, even this fall before this election, I believe we can still preserve the tax relief of 2001 and 2003.
Contrary to Pence’s assertion, “the American people” seem to overwhelmingly favor taxing the wealthy more in order to reduce the deficit. In fact, as Matt Yglesias noted, “higher taxes on the rich is basically the only deficit-reducing policy measure the public supports.”
According to a Qunnipiac University poll, 60 percent of Americans support raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 annually,while 72 percent and a majority of Republicans favor raising taxes on those making more than one million. Even the Pete Peterson-funded America Speaks project named a five percent tax increase on millionaires as its second-most preferred deficit reduction step (after raising the limit on taxable earnings for Social Security).