Bill Kristol: Tea Party Won’t Care ‘If A Few Millionaires Pay A Couple Percent More In Taxes’

The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol said that Republicans should allow the Bush tax cuts to expire on the richest 2 percent Americans, during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, explaining that the GOP may not have the leverage to maintain the top rate at 35 percent.

The comment comes one week after Kristol called on the party to stop “falling on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires” and just as Republicans may be signaling a willingness to increase rates as part of a balanced package to avoid the fiscal cliff. Kristol speculated that the Tea Party could support the change:

I just don’t think Republicans have the leverage, or that it’s worth using all their — whatever leverage they have, to maintain rates at 35 percent instead of 37 or 38, especially if you can take it up to millionaires. I just don’t think it’s economically as a matter of policy important enough. […] You know, a lot of the Tea Party guys don’t care that much if a few millionaires pay a couple percent more in taxes, honestly.

He also predicted that policy makers would reach “a deal by December 31, and I believe Republicans will yield a bit on top rates.” “I mean, President Obama ran twice on this platform and he won last I looked, both presidential elections,” Kristol added. Election Day exit polls found that 60 percent of Americans support higher taxes for the wealthy.