Republicans face antitax backlash
Many independent economists and budget analysts insist that the US needs to reduce debt by $4 trillion over the next decade to stabilize its financial situation for the long term. Getting to that number would almost certainly require both parties to surrender cherished ground. For Republicans, that boils down to one word: taxes.
If Obama is president, he has vowed to veto any extension of the Bush-era tax rates for annual household incomes over $250,000. If he prevails, those higher taxes on the wealthy would boost government revenue by almost $1 trillion over 10 years. That $1 trillion number fits snugly into the formula, offered by several bipartisan panels, of roughly $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in higher tax revenues as the way to reach $4 trillion in debt reduction.
If that $1 trillion in new taxes is part of any eventual deal, there are five GOP senators up for reelection in 2014 who potentially could vote for it. Two – Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Mike Johanns of Nebraska – are members of the “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of senators looking to flesh out a grand bargain-esque agreement in backchannel talks. Three others – Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine – have supported bipartisan deals in the past.