In an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, Eric Cantor (R-VA) made it clear that there is no room for compromise when it comes to extending the Bush-era tax cuts -- a sharp tone as Republicans are poised to reveal a new "Contract with America" on Thursday.
"Republicans unequivocally oppose any impending tax increase," he wrote, and explained the reasons why.
The first reason, he says, "concerns the pain that tax increases threaten to inflict on our economy over the short term." The second is "to stop the slide under our current leadership towards becoming a stagnant European-style welfare state with limited individual opportunity and entrepreneurship."
In contrast to the billions spent in stimulus money, Cantor frames the current tax debate as a fight for a "real stimulus," and the cost of losing the battle is too high:
The reality is that this tax hike is just one more step along the way to creating an anticompetitive new norm in this country marked by bigger government, less growth and structurally higher taxes and unemployment. The strategy to achieve the progressive left's endgame is simple. First comes the provocative class warfare rhetoric. Second comes the vast assumption of government control over the economy. Third comes the growth of government spending and entitlements. And alas, higher taxes on our nation's job creators and workers.
But Cantor's position seems contradictory to the one taken by Rep. John Boehner, who many believe will be the new Speaker of the House. Last week, Boehner conveyed a possible compromise when he said he would vote to extend tax cuts just for the middle class if that was his only choice.
Appearing to address the issue at least tangentially, Cantor writes that letting the tax cuts expire will not just affect "millionaires and billionaires": "Roughly half of all small business income in America will face a higher rate, making this tax increase a direct assault on job creation and innovation."
A united front is as important as ever for the GOP heading into mid-term elections this fall. Signaling a desire to portray such an image, the GOP announced today that it will unveil its new "Contract with America" on Thursday. The new contract, like the one in 1994, will show what the Republicans plan to do should they win back the House this fall.
According to The Hill, Republican candidates won't sign the new governing document as GOP candidates did in a highly-publicized event in 1994. Still, the contract will provide the party with action items they can present to voters as they campaign ahead of the November elections.
"This is a government document," Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who's helping draft the contract, told The Hill last week. "We're writing these bills now. Candidates are out campaigning. This is about legislation -- doing it right now."