Yesterday, while guest hosting the Scott Hennen Show, I got the opportunity to interview Senator Tom Coburn about the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. Senator Coburn has drawn the ire of many Republicans and conservatives by suggesting that taxes should go up on the richest Americans. His stance has drawn my ire a bit too, given the mathematical reality that America’s debt and deficit problems are the result of too much spending, not too little taxation.
But Coburn made a compelling case for why Republicans should cave on tax hikes for the rich. He said that if we go over the fiscal cliff a new Congress is just going to re-institute the tax cuts for everyone but the rich anyway, and Republicans will have lost the bargaining chip for tax cuts. He said that if the GOP gives Obama and Democrats what they want now, they can tie it to meaningful spending cuts.
It’s hard to argue with Coburn’s position. Like it or not, Democrats are playing this game from a position of strength, whereas Republicans are in a position of weakness.