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Kristol: A "Mistake" For GOP To Fight Over Bush Tax Rates

BILL KRISTOL: The Bush tax rates expire on Dec. 31. Rates are going up for everyone, if nothing happens. If you think Republicans can win a showdown on preserving all the current Bush tax rates against a president who was just re-elected and gained seats in the Senate and House on just raising rates on millionaires. Well, good luck. I prefer this as a policy outcome. I don’t think it’s winnable. I think at the end the Republicans will cave.

The question to me is: Do you cave right now? Get it out of the way. Four-percent. Do it for a year if you want, just for a year, the full tax hike on millionaires. Get it out of the way so we can fight about tax reform. So we can fight about the big deal that has to happen next year. Or, Republicans are going to cave on Dec. 29, in my view.

Secondly, as an actually empirical matter, what were the 40 fastest years, I think, of economic growth in the last 30 years? I think '83-'86, under Reagan. What were the top marginal tax rates? 50%. Honestly, 35-39%, by itself, is not going to cripple the economy.

It’s President Obama’s proposal, he ran on it, let him implement it. If things slow down, it’s his fault. And that’s fine with me, and I hope things don’t slow down because I hope we get real tax reform in 2013. But I just think picking the fight right now on the expiring Bush tax cuts is a mistake.

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