Republicans have been forced into a Hobson's choice of either letting the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone or agreeing to a tax hike on the top 2 percent of income earners (not to be confused with "the rich," who have already made, inherited or married their money).
If Republicans object to the Democrats' hitting job creators with a tax hike, three things will happen: Taxes will go up for everyone; Republicans will be seen as the "party of the rich"; and the inevitable economic collapse will be blamed on Republicans.
If Democrats were merely trying to raise taxes on the rich in a vacuum, it would be easier for Republicans to oppose raising anyone's taxes. But because the Bush tax cuts are only temporary, unless the high-income earners' taxes go up, everyone's taxes revert to pre-Bush tax rates.
Republicans cannot be the party that raised everyone's tax rates to prove that they can't be pushed around by the Democratic Senate and Democratic president. You don't want job-killing tax hikes on producers? Vote Republican next time.
It is not helpful to complain, "But Republicans will be blamed no matter what they do!" Yes -- true. When has that not been true? It's not a novel insight, and it's certainly not an argument for handing our enemies a baseball bat to bludgeon us with.
Consider that the media's neurotic fixation on an alleged Republican "War on Women" was going nowhere. It wasn't even working with soccer moms -- until Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock started prattling about rape and abortion.
Suggestion for Republicans: Stop living up to the Non-Fox Media's stereotype of us as woman-hating Cro-Magnons who care only about the rich.
The fact that the NFM is against Republicans doesn't mean Republicans can never win any battles. (The demographic shift to Third World welfare recipients will soon mean Republicans can never win any battles.)
Apart from gay marriage, the only issue the NFM has ever cared more about is aborting babies. And yet, intelligent pro-lifers swung the debate and public opinion by pushing parental notification laws, spousal notification laws and partial-birth abortion bans.
Even now, when we're down to a slight majority in one-half of one branch of government, there are crucial battles Republicans can win.
I note that rich liberals -- who somehow manage to avoid paying high taxes themselves -- are always wildly enthusiastic about raising taxes on the middle class to keep the strivers down.
Forget the top 2 percent. The top 1 percent of the top 1 percent keep voting for higher taxes -- and then take advantage of indefensible tax loopholes and deductions. Get them.
Let's have a class warfare bloodbath.
Californians, for example, apparently adore high taxes. By contrast, Texans -- and the Californians who have relocated there -- do not. So why should residents of high-tax states be able to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxes? Texas and other no- or low-tax states are being forced to subsidize the profligate states.
The five highest-taxed states are New York, New Jersey, California, Vermont and Rhode Island -- with California soon pulling into the lead. The five least-taxed states are Florida, Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.
See the pattern?
You want high taxes, New York and California? Then pay them -- with no deductions for state and local taxes on your federal returns.
Billionaire liberal Warren Buffett keeps gassing about how he's dying to pay a higher tax rate (while employing a phalanx of lawyers to argue that he owes less in taxes than the IRS says he owes). Buffett is taking advantage of an unwarranted tax loophole that allows full-time investors like himself to report their entire income as capital gains, not ordinary income.
But that's his job! A stock-picker like Buffett is completely different from a doctor, whose job is to save lives, or a lawyer, whose job is to wreck them. They pay the full income tax rate for what they earn doing their jobs, and then pay a lower capital gains rate on investing the money they get to keep.
Buffett's only job is to earn capital gains. He and others like him should be paying the ordinary income tax rate like the rest of us on the money he earns from his job. Close that loophole. Almost no Republicans will be harmed in the making of this tax change. (There's a reason Sen. Chuck Schumer fought so hard to save it.)
Finally, as Glenn Reynolds -- the law professor known as "Instapundit" -- has been arguing, it's time to end Hollywood's exemption from excise taxes.
Excise taxes are taxes imposed on goods and activities, passed on to the consumer, such as alcohol and tobacco taxes. There are excise taxes on gasoline, airlines, tanning salons, fishing and archery products, truck driving, long-distance telephone service, and on and on.
Hollywood movies used to be subject to an excise tax, but, for no reason whatsoever, rich Hollywood liberals have been relieved of excise taxes on their products since the 1950s.
Reynolds suggests that, for "extra fun," Republicans "could show pictures of David Geffen's yacht and John Travolta's personal Boeing 707 on the Senate floor."
Republicans can't block the Democrats from raising taxes on "the rich" without themselves being responsible for raising taxes on the middle class. But they can at least force liberal fat cats to start paying their fair share.