The Georgia Republican contenders for U.S Senate have made a lot of outrageous assertions, from calling evolution a lie “straight from the pit of hell” to proposing that poor students sweep floors to pay for lunch. But frontrunner David Perdue may have just broken the ultimate taboo: suggesting that he might be open to raising taxes.
In a conversation with the Macon Telegraph’s editorial board released Tuesday, the multi-millionaire businessman did not offer the categorical refusal to raise taxes that is now customary among Republican candidates.
“Is it better to try to get out of the ditch by curbing the growth of spending or increasing revenue?” an editorial board member asked.
“Both,” Perdue replied emphatically.
“And that’s a euphemism for some kind of tax increase, of course,” the interviewer noted.
Perdue laughed and explained, “Well here’s the reality: If you go into a business, and I keep coming back to my background, it’s how I know how to relate is to refer back to it — I was never able to turn around a company just by cutting spending. You had to figure out a way to get revenue growing. And what I just said, there are five people in the U.S. Senate who understand what I just said. You know revenue is not something they think about.”
Even this relatively modest statement is a break with the strict anti-tax rhetoric most other Republican candidates have embraced. Signalling a willingness to compromise may be a smartly calculated move for Perdue; anti-tax zealotry helped sink dozens of House Republican and Senate candidates in the 2012 election.
Perdue’s spokesman later tried to qualify the statement, claiming Perdue was only broadly talking about growing the economy. “David was stating a simple economic principle: If the economy is growing and more people were working, it generates more revenue. Tax increases hinder economic growth and destroy jobs. David wants to get government off our backs and our economy back on track.”