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Today's Political Comment

My right-wing friend Roger briefly had a few moments of Liberalism before the holidays but now he's back to the idea that it would be an act of unspeakable evil and treason and depravity for Washington to raise taxes even a nickel. Any Congressperson who so votes will never be forgiven or voted-for…or so he says. Somehow, I think that in any coming election, he'll still vote for the more conservative of the two candidates even if that person did vote to raise someone's taxes.

The point I keep making to him is that there may not be one single person in our government who won't vote to raise taxes. It's a foregone conclusion that someone's taxes will go up. Republicans seem to be selling this idea, to the nation and to themselves, that it doesn't count if taxes go up for the poor and middle-class. This has always, I suspect, been the Grover Norquist position: A tax increase is only a tax increase if the Koch Brothers pay more. If the low-earners pay more, that's not a tax increase. That's the 47% finally kicking in with a down payment on their fair share.

My pal Kevin Drum offers up some simple numbers here. If Obama gets what he seems to be proposing, taxes go up 3.84% on the top 1% of earners. If Republicans get what they're proposing, they go up 2.91% on folks at the bottom…like, say, Roger. He'd pay more and then cheer the G.O.P. for holding firm and not raising taxes.

Presumably, they'll all someday arrive at a formula where both sides pay a little less than the above numbers. But fighting over that formula — that's the reason we're about to go off that Fiscal Cliff. Somehow, I imagine it like that last big drop on Splash Mountain at Disneyland where everyone gets wet and about a third of the women flash their breasts. Wheeeee!