On Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) conceded that Democrats have won the debate on raising taxes on the richest Americans and said that he would likely vote to increase rates on the top 2 percent of Americans in order to shift the debate to cutting entitlement programs and improve the GOP’s leverage in the debate over how to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Corker explained that if Republicans “give Obama a 2 percent increase,” the party can then hold the debt ceiling hostage in order to secure real cuts in spending:
CORKER: The Republicans know they have the debt ceiling, that is coming up around the corner, and, the leverage is going to shift, as soon as we get beyond this issue. The leverage is going to shift, to our side where hopefully we’ll do the same thing we did last time and that is if the president wants to raise the debt limit by $2 trillion we get $2 trillion in spending reduction and, hopefully, this time, it is mostly oriented towards entitlement and with no process. [...]
[Obama] has the upper hand on taxes and you have to pass something to keep it from happening. We only have one body. If we were to pass, for instance, raising the top 2 rates, and that’s it, all of a sudden we do have the leverage of the debt ceiling and we haven’t given that up so the only way the debt ceiling.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has indicated that the GOP plans to use that leverage by demanding more spending cuts, but the move will result in great economic costs. In 2011, Republican demands nearly led to a credit default and ultimately cost taxpayers “$18.9 billion over 10 years, due to elevated interest rates between January and August 2011.”
Obama slammed the GOP’s strategy during a meeting with business leaders last week. “The thinking is the Republicans will have more leverage because there will be another vote on the debt ceiling, and we will try to extract more concessions with a stronger hand on the debt ceiling,” Obama told members of the Business Roundtable. “That is a bad strategy for America, it’s a bad strategy for your businesses, and it is not a game that I will play.”