House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who has refused to support raising marginal tax rates on the richest Americans in order to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, told Fox News Sunday that it doesn’t matter if the government raises revenue by reducing programs or eliminating tax deductions that also benefit lower and middle class Americans or asks the wealthiest to pay more:
CHIRS WALLACE (HOST): You talked about the fact that the President won and you came out with a concession the day after the election and they point out that the president campaigned on raising tax rates, you know, and it was the big issue, between him and Romney, and, they say, just as he had to cave, after your victory, in the 2010 midterms, now, it is your turn to cave on tax rates.
BOEHNER: Listen, what is this difference where the money comes from? We put $800 billion worth of revenue, which is what he is asking for, out of eliminating the top two tax rates. But, here’s the problem, Chris, when you go and increase tax rates, you make it more difficult for our economy to grow, after that income, the small business income, it is going to get taxed at a higher rate and as a result we’re gonna see slower economic growth, we can’t cut our way out of this problem, nor can we grow our way out of the problem, we have to have a balanced approach and what the President wants to do will slow or economy at a time when he says he wants the economy to grow and create jobs.
Despite Boehner’s rhetoric, there is no economic evidence to suggest that taxing income above $250,000 hurts the economy. In fact, business thrived during President Clinton’s tenure, as the wealthy paid more.
There is a clear “difference” to where the “money comes from,” however, and asking higher-income Americans who have benefited the most to pay more is fairer than gutting critical entitlement programs during a slow economic recovery. While middle-class incomes have stagnated, America’s top income bracket has enjoyed a period of exceptionally low tax rates thanks largely to caps on investment income and tax cuts put in place by former president George W. Bush. These super-rich Americans have fared well under President Obama, too; corporate profits are skyrocketing and the total number of millionaires in the US has exploded during his term.