By Teresa Welsh |
Going into the fiscal cliff negotiations, President Obama had the leverage over congressional Republicans on increasing tax rates for everyone except for the middle class. If nothing had been done about it, everyone's taxes would have gone up to Clinton era levels. While many Republicans on Capitol Hill are disappointed in the Senate passed deal because it lacked spending cuts, it is an underreported fact that 98 percent of the Bush tax cuts are now permanent.
The Democratic Party that voted against the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 are now supporting them—an important philosophical shift in just 10 years. Without any leverage against Obama, Republicans were still able to save taxpayers making up to $450,000 from paying more to the federal government. This happened even though President Obama won re-election and the Democrats control the Senate majority.
President Obama won the immediate public relations battle by championing tax cuts for the middle class—an important policy that Republicans invented in the first place. This victory will be short lived because the GOP will now have its leverage back to demand real spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, something that Obama will desperately need to remain effective.
About Ron Bonjean Former Chief of Staff for the Senate Republican Conference