CHRIS WALLACE: Let me just ask one question about what we will now henceforth call the Kristol scenario: Which is that they’ll end up passing the halfway cave, a limited cave on tax rates. That doesn’t avoid the fiscal cliff, does it?
BILL KRISTOL: It avoids the tax side of the fiscal cliff. There’s still a spending problem. Most of those cuts in spending are fine with me, except for defense. But there, the president seems to have no interest in us having a strong defense, and so again, I guess we can litigate that next year. There will be plenty of other opportunities to debate all these spending, defense and entitlement issues next year. My view is get the tax issue off the table, it’s the weakest one for the Republicans right now. Let the president own it and we’ll have a bunch of other debates next year.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) told me Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week” that he is willing to accept tax rate increases as a component of a fiscal cliff deal, as long as Democrats put “significant entitlement reform” on the table.
“What we ought to be working on is the other 93 percent, because even if you do what [Obama] wants to do on tax rates, you only affect 7 percent of the deficit,” Coburn said. “What we have done is spend ourselves into a hole, and we’re not going to raise taxes and borrow money and get out of it.”
“And so will I accept a tax increase as a part of a deal to actually solve our problems? Yes,” he said.
“A lot of people are putting forth a theory – and I actually think it has merit – where you go and you give the president the 2 percent increase that he’s talking about, the rate increase on the top 2 percent – and all of a sudden the shift goes back to entitlements,” Corker said. “And all of a sudden, once you give him a top rate on the 2 percent it’s actually a much lesser tax increase than what he’s been talking about.
“I actually am beginning to believe that is the best route for us to take,” Corker said, “to again shift the focus to where it needs to be, which is entitlements.”
Via Gateway Pundit.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said Sunday that House Republicans should agree to extending tax cuts for the majority of U.S. taxpayers…
The Oklahoma Republican said this would swing leverage over to Republicans in their negotiations with the White House to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff” — a set of massive tax increases and budget cuts that will go into effect early next year unless Congress acts.
“It’s quite the opposite. We gain leverage,” Cole said…
“We are not getting 100 percent of what we want, but we can get a lot. John Boehner is trying to focus us where it belongs, and that’s on spending restraint and entitlement reform because this revenue won’t come close to dealing with our fiscal problems,” Cole said.
On Sunday’s Face The Nation, former Senator Alan Simpson told host Bob Schieffer that he’ll cover happy hour for wealthy Americans who don’t believe their taxes will increase: “If anybody out there who is quote ‘rich’ doesn’t think taxes’ll go up, the drinks are on me.”…
Schieffer pressed him, asking if he thought Democrats would have to agree to some entitlement reforms, as well. Simpson answered affirmatively, calling entitlements “the engine on the train driving us to the cliff.”