(CNSNews.com) – Conservative leader L. Brent Bozell III sent a letter to the Republican National Committee (RNC) this week stating that if Republicans in Congress agree to raise taxes as part of a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff,” he will make it his mission to ensure that conservatives close their checkbooks to the GOP or to any member of Congress who backs a tax increase.
“[I]f Republicans break their promise to the American people and vote for tax increases, the only thing going off the cliff will be the Grand Old Party itself,” said Bozell in his letter to RNC Chairman Reince Preibus. “[I]t pains me to say this, but if the Republican Party breaks its word to the American people and goes along with President Obama with tax increases, it will have betrayed conservatives for the final time.”
“I will make it my mission to ensure that every conservative donor to the Republican Party that I have worked with for the last three decades -- and there are many and they have given tens of millions to Republican causes -- gives not one penny more to the Republican Party or any Member of Congress that votes for tax increases,” said Bozell, who is chairman of ForAmerica, a grassroots conservative group committed to traditional American principles.
Preibus supports Bozell on the no-tax-hike issue. “He is emphatic, absolutely emphatic, in his support for my call not to increase taxes, and he clearly wants that on the record,” Bozell told CNSNews.com in a telephone interview.
In addition to his position at ForAmerica, Bozell is president of the Media Research Center, the parent organization of CNSNews.com.
The so-called fiscal cliff refers to the pending expiration of the Bush tax rates at the end of this year, and the automatic spending cuts (sequestration) that are scheduled to start on Jan. 2, 2013, unless Congress acts.
President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders want to see the tax rates raised for people making $250,000 or more per year, although many in that category are small business owners and dual-income households.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has said, “Everyone ought to pay their fair share. Part of paying their fair share is simply suggesting that the highest income Americans, those making over $250,000, the top 2%, including millionaires and billionaires, can afford to, and should, pay income taxes at the marginal rate that was in place in the 1990s when we had one of the strongest economies in American history and when we created 24 million jobs.”
It is estimated that if the tax rate was raised for those making $250,000 or more per year, it would generate about $90 billion in federal tax revenue. The federal government spends about $9.5 billion per day, which means that extra tax revenue would cover federal spending for a little over 9 days.
“We all know that taxing small business will accomplish nothing,” Bozell said in his letter to the RNC. “These tax hikes will fund the government’s reckless spending habits for little more than a week, max. All it will do is cripple job creation and worsen our fragile economic condition. That’s what the Republican Party has maintained for years.”
Republicans leaders such as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) contend that raising the tax rates on people and small business owners earning over $250,000 will only further hurt the economy and kill jobs. But Boehner has indicated he is open to eliminating some tax deductions and apparent loopholes, provided the president agrees to specific spending cuts and entitlement reforms.
Nothing has been decided, however, and the talks are ongoing.
Meanwhile, some prominent Republicans have said that all options, including “revenue,” should be on the table. These include Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
Graham told ABC’s This Week on Sunday, “Republicans should put revenue on the table. We’re this far in debt. We don’t generate enough revenue.” Rep. Cole said on Tuesday, “I think we ought to take the 98 percent deal right now,” and allow taxes to go up for higher income earners.
Rep. Peter King told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, “[The] bottom line is we cannot have sequestration. We can't go off a fiscal cliff. We have to show the world we’re adults. … I think everything should be on the table. I myself am opposed to tax increases.”
Republicans are playing the same word game as Democrats, said Bozell, “calling tax increases ‘revenue,’ and they have clearly put ‘revenue’ on the table. Now, the left is taking all spending cuts off the table. All they want to discuss is quote/unquote revenue.”
Bozell said that when the Republican Party supported myriad “Democrat-Lite” initiatives between 2006 and 2008, conservatives stopped working for GOP candidates and stopped writing checks to the party. This will happen again, he warned.
“I can tell you, I’ve already spoken with some,” said Bozell. “I met with someone yesterday who has given seven figures in the last year and she told me that her checkbook is already closed. She is so disappointed in them. I can tell you, off the top of my head, of $10 million in four phone calls that would dry up. My guess is that $50 million, $100 million will immediately dry up if the Republicans go with tax increases.”
When asked what conservatives could support, Bozell said, “The only thing that will work is taking spending and doing something about it. The CBO has said that the way to prevent us from going off the fiscal cliff is to put an end to Obamacare. That should be on the table. Entitlements have to be on the table. There’s no other way. And the Democrats have said they don’t even want to discuss that.”
“Until both sides are serious, nothing is going to happen,” he said. “All they will do is put Band-Aid on cancer. It may stop the tell-tale signs of bleeding under the skin but the cancer grows and grows until it kills you.”