Matt Lewis

The Obama Tax Cuts?

A few days ago, I confessed the litany of things I got wrong in 2012. But in fairness, I got a lot of stuff right, too. More and more, for example, it’s looking like I was right about how the fiscal cliff would play out.

About a month ago, I wrote that “On the fiscal cliff, Republicans are so screwed.”

As I noted:

Look at it from Obama’s perspective. Would allowing the sequestration cuts to kick in be that bad? It would allow him to cut the U.S. military (and blame Republicans), make some much-needed spending cuts (without taking heat from his base), and — as a bonus – raise taxes!

At the time, there was some Republican bluster about how they did have leverage over Obama. There was some sort of quixotic optimism that Republicans could somehow force him to accept spending cuts without tax increases.

Going off the cliff would let Republicans off the hook — in terms of raising taxes. (It’s semantics, of course, but because the tax cuts automatically expire, waiting until after the New Year to act would allow Republicans to cut taxes on anyone making, say, less than $400,000 — rather than raise taxes on anyone.)

Again, there are problems with this. First, if going off the fiscal cliff — even for a short time — has negative consequences, Republicans would predictably be blamed.

But assuming nothing catastrophic happens, this still wouldn’t be some sort of brilliant Republican maneuver, for a simple reason: Rather than renewing the “Bush tax cuts,” Republicans will now be helping usher in what will become forever known as “The Obama Middle Class Tax Cuts.”

This would be nothing short of amazing. The political ramifications could be huge.

About a month ago, I asked this question: “Barack Obama has already helped destroy brand loyalty for the Republican Party’s foreign policy. Is he now attempting to destroy the Republican brand as the party of tax cuts?”

(If you’re keeping score, the answer is “yes.”)