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.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson Resigns

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Sports Show by and About Women

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 4:15 PM The Trials of White Boy Rick A Detroit crime legend, the FBI, and the ugliness of the war on drugs.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:46 PM Ebola Is No Measles. That’s a Good Thing. Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.