The Corner

Kyl: Obama’s Choice on Taxes

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) says a deal to raise the debt ceiling will come down to whether or not President Obama abandons his “ideological bent” to raise taxes on the American people.

“The president has to make a decision,” Kyl said on Fox News Sunday. “Which is more important to him, solving this problem reducing spending somewhat or making sure that we raise taxes on the American economy? If that’s his ideological bent here and under all circumstances that’s what he is going to insist on, we’ve got a big problem.”

Republican negotiators, he pointed out, have not refused all new revenue, having already agreed to some “fee increases.” But as to the elimination of “tax expenditures” — in the form of credits, deductions and loopholes — Kyl said the GOP has always been willing to consider these changes, but only in the context of comprehensive tax reform that lowers overall tax rates, something President Obama has supported in he past.

“We’re perfectly willing to consider those kinds of issues in the context of tax reform, which we would very much like to do, he said. “But we’re not going to have the time to do it in order just to raise revenue as a part of this exercise which should be about reducing spending.”

There is also the “practical problem” for the president to consider regarding the Republican-controlled House. “It’s not going to pass if there’s a big tax increase,” he said.

Kyl addressed two specific proposals floated by Democrats — first, to limit the tax deductions for those earning more than $500,000 to 10 percent of gross adjusted income, which Democrats allege would bring in $210 billion over the next decade. “It always happens, they aim at the millionaire and billionaires, but there’s not enough money from those folks to run the government for very long so they end up effecting everybody,” he said.

Second, Kyl slammed the Democratic proposal to eliminate tax credits for oil companies, which Democrats say will bring in $21 billion over ten years. “If you want gas if you want gas prices to rise, if you want to pay more than 4 bucks at the pump, then go ahead and do this,” he said. “That kind of tax increase is going to flow right through the consumer, everybody knows that.”

Economic growth, he said, was the key to higher revenues. “When our economy grows and people are making more money at the same income tax rates, they will pay a lot more in taxes and the government will have more revenues, but you don’t want to pile taxes on at a time companies don’t have the ability to invest in hiring people.”

At the end of the day, President Obama must decide how the country will proceed. “He’s got to make that choice,” Kyl said. “And the best choice, I think, is not doing anything to harm the economy.”




Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...


The Latest