USNews & World Report, Thomas Jefferson Street Blog
The Business Community Must Knock Sense Into Republicans
By PETER FENN
Reagan did it as governor and as president. George H. W. Bush did it. Bill Clinton did it.
They all raised taxes, created more revenue. All of them provided targeted tax breaks too, invested in education and infrastructure, cajoled and convinced the American business community that their policies were righting the ship during tough economic times.
This week President Obama is making the case to America’s business community, large and small, that Republicans should not remain in their Grover Norquist handcuffs and Tea Party holiday straight jackets.
The absurd notion that signing a pledge never to raise taxes is the “Republican way” is a form of serious amnesia. Even the first President Bush regretted his hard and fast “read my lips” line that some Norquist-like gnome had put in his 1988 convention speech. Have Republicans not learned that this does not work?
America’s business community surely likes lower taxes, who doesn’t? But they understand that providing a balanced approach to dealing with the deficit is far preferable to economic meltdown. They want a plan. They want a road map. They want stability. What America’s businesses do not want is more chaos, more bickering, more posturing.
[If the business community wants a reasonable deal, that includes a bump in tax rates for the richest 2 percent, they should convey this to the Republicans, and fast. Obama is initiating cuts, $340 billion in Medicare and Medicaid, over $1.1 trillion in discretionary spending, serious reductions.
If we are going to come to agreement on $4 trillion in savings so that we can pursue a reasonable plan, business should whisper in the ears of Speaker Boehner and his recalcitrant colleagues and help solve the problem. They would have real influence when it really counts.