December the 7th may be the day that lives infamy, but December the 6th marks the day President Obama lost the debate on taxation. On that day last year, as Washington Post writers Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray put it, the Democrat “and congressional Republicans . . . reached a tentative accord on a far-reaching economic package that would preserve George W. Bush administration tax breaks for families at all income levels for two years”.
To return tax rates to their level before the Texas Republican took office, all Obama had to do was, well, nothing. The tax rates set early in Mr. Bush’s term would have expired on their own.
In working out this compromise, then signing the bill, the president essentially conceded the argument on taxes. And yet now it appears the agreement he had worked out with congressional leaders fell apart because Speaker Boehner wouldn’t accede to his demand for “additional revenues” (AKA more taxes).
If the president so wanted additional revenue, why then didn’t he just sit back last December and let the Bush tax rates lapse?