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Senator Tom Coburn Calls For GOP To Agree To Tax Hikes

Tom CoburnSenator Tom Coburn, R-OK, has long been a voice of reason in the United States Senate. He was the same voice of reason in the House of Representatives, causing Speaker Newt Gingrich major headaches by not going along to get along. He has long been advocating a balanced approach to reducing the national debt and the deficit and it is worth mentioning that Coburn’s approach is much more balanced than the proposals President Obama and the liberal Democrats have put forth.

Coburn is called Dr. No in the Senate for a reason. The number of bills he has blocked because they contain wasteful spending can not be counted. He believes in cutting the size of government and he is not bashful about calling his fellow Senators to task for failing to get that done. Democrats and Republicans alike have felt his scorn for their lackadaisical approach to their jobs. It is worth noting now that Coburn is no longer being silent on the issue of the fiscal cliff. As usual, he is not following the expected party line, but neither is he giving Democrats a pass. He says we have to raise new revenues and he would rather see that done by raising tax rates on the wealthy, instead of trying to cap deductions. At the same time, Coburn says raising taxes isn’t something he wants to see happen, but is something he feels has to be done. It is not avoidable, but should also be accompanied by cuts in spending.

(Politico) In an interview, Coburn said the GOP should swallow hard and accept a smaller tax hike that would have the least effect on the economy. Without a deal, he warned, it’s “inevitable” all Americans will face an increase to their income tax rates when the 2001 and 2003 George W. Bush tax cuts expire Dec. 31.

And polls show Republicans would shoulder most of the blame if the two sides fail to strike a deal.

“I’m for raising revenue because we have to — it’s not because we should but because we have to,” Coburn told POLITICO. Republicans can say they refuse to support any tax hikes, “but it’s still going to happen. That’s what the law is.”

Last week, Coburn acknowledged on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Republicans “have to raise revenue” and that he preferred that rates go up for families making more than $250,000 rather than capping deductions. On Sunday, he told ABC’s “This Week” that he was willing to accept a tax increase as part of a deal to solve the nation’s debt crisis.

A lot of people may believe Senator Coburn has gone off the deep end and is siding with the Democrats, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am not a fan of raising taxes and have said repeatedly that the GOP leadership should draw a line in the sand and refuse to raise taxes, unless those tax increased are accompanied by cuts in spending that are real and substantial. Coburn is advocating the same thing and is doing it from a strategic standpoint.

Coburn has also privately been making the “tactical argument” to Republican senators and his former House colleagues that the GOP’s best option is to agree to the rate hikes, then extract spending cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, said one Senate source.

And while Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other GOP leaders publicly oppose any tax hike in the fiscal deal, they haven’t tried to silence Coburn, sources said. But the former three-term congressman is perhaps freer to speak his mind than most Republicans: A proponent of term limits, he has pledged not to run for a third Senate term in 2016.

“The reality is there is a Democratic president, a Democratic Senate — and the only way you’re going to start doing something to save Medicare, to save Social Security is to give them revenue,” Coburn told POLITICO. “It’s wrong, but that’s the real world we live in.”

I wholeheartedly wish the “real world” Coburn is referring to didn’t exist, but the political reality is that it does. We have to deal with it, regardless if we like it or not. I just hope the GOP leadership can follow Coburn’s lead and find it in themselves to stand their ground and refuse to raise taxes, unless spending cuts are forthcoming from the Democrats.

About LD Jackson

LD Jackson has written 1994 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

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2 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • http://facebook.com/Silverfiddle Silverfiddle

    I agree also. Raise taxes on the rich. Half of them voted for Obama anyway, and the other half is obviously too stupid to spend any of their money to protect themselves, so screw ‘em.

    I’m through carrying their water for them.

  • http://conservativesonfire.wordpress.com Jim at Conservatives on Fire

    I am convinced in this real world that Coburn is talking about, there is no no negotiated agreement that will do any thing but hurt the economy more. That being said, I agree with him. The Republicans can not escape the fact the Obama won reelection in part on a campaign to raise taxes on the rich. They must accept that and get the best deal they can on accompanying spending cuts. We will still see America decline. It will probably be a a slightly faster rate but only we conservatives seem to care.

  • Steve Dennis

    I wouldn’t be as opposed to the tax increases if I thought they would be coupled with real spending cuts but I think we all know that isn’t going to happen. The agreement will include tax hike right away with the promise to cut the rate of spending increases at some later date. There will be no real spending cuts and that later date will never arrive.
    In theory he may be right, but in reality it is not going to happen the way he hopes it will.

  • http://www.stevenbirnspeaks.com Steven Birn

    What is the point of controlling the House if the House bows to the will of Obama?

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      I don’t necessarily believe compromising on taxes would constitute bowing to the will of Obama. If we could extract spending cuts in real dollars, today’s dollars, then I would be willing to allow tax rates to go up for the wealthy. If those spending cuts are not forthcoming, then I say no deal.

  • http://www.cainespestilence.com John Bascom

    I have no desire to “protect the rich” but the problem is the deficit, not tax rates. To avoid a Greece or Spain here in the US we must balance the budget, and everyone agrees taxes on the rich will not make a dent. Everyone says we should give in on the taxes on the rich and in return extract spending cuts: only problem is, Obama and company continue to demand the higher taxes but refuse to agree to cuts! It’s incomprehensible that the public blames the Republicans for this, but I suppose it’s so.

    I have no idea what to do except fasten our seatbelts. With public sentiment as it is there seems to be little choice but to go along and let the crap hit the fan down the road. One hell of a way to run the greatest country on earth. I’m just glad to be retired and debt free–guess the grandkids will have to fend for themselves.

  • Mike

    If 12-18 months ago conservatives were willing to accept that tax increases on the rich were the right thing to do in exchange for meaningful spending cuts there probably would have been a deal. 8 months ago not a single GOP presidential candidate would support even one dollar in tax increase even if it meant an accompanying 10 dollars in spending cuts. Now that everybody on the right is seeing the light the deal Obama is willing to accept has moved further to the left. Gee what a surprise! It’s pretty self-serving to put this on the shoulders of Obama and the Dems.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      I couldn’t disagree with you more. While it is true that conservatives have been firmly entrenched in their position of opposing tax increases, it is also true that liberals have been just as entrenched in opposing spending cuts. At no time have I seen a legitimate proposal to reduce spending in today’s dollars. It’s always down the road 5 or 10 years. Until we see that kind of proposal from the Democrats, I will remain opposed to raising taxes.

      The fact remains, we do not have a revenue problem. Spending is the real issue at hand, yet it is completely ignored and put on the back burner by most in Washington.

  • http://Www.bunkerville.wordpress.com Bunkerville

    Either way, we lose big time as we eat each other with recriminations.

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  • Sandra Parrott

    I would support tax hikes on the over $1Million, but a lot lower rate than what they are calling for. And ONLY if the spending cuts are part of the plan. They must be meaningful, and they must happen at the same time as the tax hikes. I despair of losing this common sense, honorable man in the Senate. I don’t see another on the horizon. Senator Coburn has a report of wasteful spending that should be REQUIRED reading for all of Congress. It can be found at Coburn.Senate.Gov

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      Thanks for commenting on Political Realities, Sandra. I couldn’t agree with you more about Senator Tom Coburn. He applies a lot of practical, common sense to his job in Washington. I just wish more people would take heed to his words. I wish he would run for another term, but I seriously doubt he will do so. He is a firm believer in term limits and he applies that belief to himself.