Rep. Pence Declares Victory In Tax Debate

November 17, 2010 1:06 pm ET — Kate Conway

With midterm victories tucked in their back pockets, Republicans have ratcheted up the rhetoric on the rapidly-expiring Bush tax cuts, adamantly refusing to consider any compromise that doesn't extend all current tax rates (and even one that does). While Democrats have offered concessions — raising taxes only on millionaires, for example — Republicans insist that the midterm outcomes mean the American people want tax breaks for those high earners to continue.

The debate is in full swing, but Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has a different interpretation of the current state of affairs. He popped up on Fox News' On the Record last night declaring that "all bets are off" and Republicans have "won this argument."

PENCE: You know, I gotta tell you. Anybody that didn't get the message two weeks ago today, who is responsible for raising taxes on Americans in this, the worst economy in 25 years, just might be getting the message 24 months from now. So I think all bets are off, I think we won this argument with the American people. We ought to stand for the principle that no American should see a tax increase, extend all the current tax rates permanently, and let's have that debate and have that vote.

Pence also declared that the elections constituted a resounding rejection of "higher taxes" and "class warfare," a characterization he repeated this morning on America's Newsroom. There, he also told host Martha MacCallum: "I think the overwhelming majority of the American people believe that the last thing you want to do in the worst economy we've seen in a quarter century is raise taxes on anybody. ... Let's just preserve all the current tax rates permanently." Watch:

Whatever Pence may think the American people want, polls beforeduring, and after the elections have consistently shown that most of them want to let the tax rates go up for top earners. According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, a full 57 percent want tax cuts for the wealthy to expire — 43 percent think they should expire only for those earning over $250,000, and 14 percent think they should expire for everyone. 

Since the party that's willing to compromise holds the majority for the rest of the year, there's hope that the solution to the expiration of the tax cuts will reflect what the American people actually say they want — not what Rep. Pence made up to declare his party the winner.

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