With the fiscal cliff fast approaching, it seems even Republicans in Congress are starting to think of taxes as means to avoid January’s scheduled austerity measures. Though they’re not yet saying they’d raise taxes outright, New York representative Peter King and South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham are talking about scaling back tax deductions and credits to increase revenues. This morning, Graham said that he would be willing to violate conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist’s non-legally binding but solidly peer-pressured 26-year-old Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
“When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans — Republicans should put revenue on the table. We’re this far in debt. We don’t generate enough revenue. Capping deductions will help generate revenue. Raising tax rates will hurt job creation. So I agree with Grover, we shouldn’t raise rates. But, I think Grover is wrong when it comes to [saying] we can’t cap deductions and buy down debt. I want to buy down debt and cut rates to create jobs, but I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.”
Peter King — not usually known for being the most rational of lawmakers — put it another way: “A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress…if I were in Congress in 1941, I would have signed the declaration of war against Japan. I’m not going to attack Japan today. The world has changed.” It’s really heartwarming to see everyone working together to consider making some sense.