It's Not Too Late

It's not too late for House Republicans to regroup and pass an extension of the Bush tax cuts along the lines of Speaker Boehner's "Plan B" before yearend.  With those tax cuts scheduled to expire on January 1, each representative will soon be faced with the Hobson's choice of either going along with a bill which will be introduced and passed in the Senate adopting the president's obsession with extending the tax cuts only up to $250,000 in income, or blocking the bill and being blamed for the economic consequences of automatic tax hikes on everyone and anything else that happens as a result of Obamanomics. 

Speaker John Boehner made a valiant attempt to go on the offensive in the fiscal cliff negotiations as we recommended two weeks earlier.  Where we had suggested actions that did not concede tax increases for anyone, his Plan B took the more conciliatory path of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for income in excess of $1 million.  Facing inadequate support from his own Republican caucus for a bill that allows any tax rates to increase, Boehner had little choice but to accept the humiliation of pulling Plan B just prior to its scheduled vote.

Now, in an even weaker negotiating position and with the clock ticking, House Republicans must recognize that passing something like Plan B is essential for achieving a negotiated settlement, with the president or in a House-Senate conference committee, containing a threshold for the Bush tax cut expiration in the $500,000 - $750,000 income range, rather than for everyone.  Plan B had the media abuzz and, despite Obama's dismissal of it as a political stunt, seemed to make the White House nervous for good reason.  It's not too late for the House to put back in play a politically viable and economically preferable alternative to Obama's tax increase plan.  If it can be done while Obama is still vacationing in Hawaii, all the better. 

After proving that they are not "the party of millionaires," Republicans will be in a stronger position to fight the real economic battle--saving Medicare and Social Security and reigning in unsustainable government spending.