Is Boehner backing off his position that the tax cuts for the wealthy must be extended?:
House G.O.P. Leader Signals He’s Open to Obama Tax Cut, by David Herszenhorn, NY Times: The House Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, said on Sunday that he was prepared to vote in favor of legislation that would let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans if Democrats insisted on continuing the lower rates only for families earning less than $250,000 a year.That's very Keynesian of him to have the concern that "raising taxes in a very weak economy is a really, really bad idea," and there's an easy response for Democrats, one I discuss here. The Democrats say okay, if that's your concern, why not transfer the tax cuts, temporarily, to lower income groups who are much more likely to spend the money, or use it to backfill state and local budgets to stop further job losses? There are all sorts of ways to use the money that would be more stimulative than continuing the tax cuts for the wealthy, so if your objection is that raising taxes in a recession is "a really, really bad idea," then transfer the tax cuts where they will do the most good.
Speaking on “Face the Nation” on CBS, Mr. Boehner made clear that he supports continuing the lower tax rates at all income levels and that he believes the Democrats would be making a mistake by increasing taxes on anyone, given the weak economy.
Mr. Boehner ... said... “I think raising taxes in a very weak economy is a really, really bad idea,” ...
One more note. I am not expecting that Boehner will support the bill when it comes time to actually cast a vote. This is political posturing that is probably based upon polling data showing that most people do not support his original position. If and when it comes time to cast his vote, he will likely find some other provision in the bill, or some consideration he will claim was not present when he made this statement, to rationalize a no vote.
This post has been republished from Mark Thoma's blog, Economist's View.