One of the things that has become apparent during the presidential campaign and now, during the negotiations over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” is the importance the president places on raising the rates on the top 2 percent of income earners. I’ve written before on why I believe conservatives shouldn’t make a “no new taxes” pledge and why keeping the top rate at 35 percent (which I support) isn’t a matter of high principle.
At the same time, Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans–who after all have been willing to put $800 billion in revenues (through closing loopholes and deductions) on the table–have been far more open to compromise than President Obama, who has not given an inch. In particular, the president has made it clear that he would gladly go over the fiscal cliff rather than give up on his obsession to raise tax rates on the top 2 percent.
For Obama, the top two percent are the Great White Whale–and he is Captain Ahab.