Rep. Tom Cole Calls on GOP To Cave Now on Middle Class Taxes

A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 28 2012 9:16 AM

Rep. Tom Cole Calls on GOP To Cave Now on Middle Class Taxes

Ethics Committee member Tom Cole (R-OK) attends a news conference at the Capitol April 20, 2005 in Washington, D.C.

Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

I've said before that the best bargaining strategy for Republicans in the fiscal cliff is to cave immediately and pass Obama's middle-class tax cuts (assist from Brian Beutler). Apparently Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma is thinking along the same lines and urging his colleagues to do it.

This continues to be a not-very-popular line of thought in D.C. and has some wondering whether a very right-wing House member from Oklahoma has suddenly gone squishy. I think he's just gone smart. Caving on the middle class tax cuts would hand the White House an important victory. Taxes on the rich would go up, and Republicans wouldn't be able to stop it. On the other hand, they wouldn't need to endorse the Obama tax hike and would remain free to keep campaigning for new tax cuts. More importantly, caving now would leave the budget sequester unresolved. That would create a new fight in which Republicans would have leverage. Obama doesn't want the domestic sequester to take effect, and importantly he doesn't really want the military sequester to take effect either. In fact, he's promised that it won't. 


Basically by beating a tactical retreat on taxes, Republicans could engage in a new smaller-scale controversy in which they'd have the upper hand. It would also offer the opportunity to exploit the serious divisions that exist inside the Democratic coalition over the appropriate shape and scope of cuts to retirement programs. Total intransigence on taxes is making it easy for Democrats to stick together even though there's relatively little real consensus in the Democratic caucus.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

Yes, Black Families Tend to Spank More. That Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for Black Kids.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge


The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 6:23 PM Bryan Cranston Reenacts Baseball’s Best Moments to Promote the Upcoming Postseason
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.