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Republican Freshman Calls for Millionaire’s Surtax

Breaking a united front in the Republican Party that goes back a number of years, freshman GOP Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR) will unveil a millionaire’s surtax proposal today.

The Arkansas Republican will unveil the plan during a local television interview Thursday morning, and plans to introduce legislation when the House returns next week, according to sources familiar with his thinking.

Crawford will propose the additional tax— expected to be north of 2.5 percent — on individual income over $1 million as part of a broader fiscal responsibility package.

“He’s watched the Gangs of Six and 100 and deficit commissions, as well as leadership’s budget and tax plan, and he feels there will never be a deal that will pass the Senate without a revenue component,” a Crawford aide said, describing the legislation without attribution because it has not yet been officially announced.

The Grover Norquist excommunication ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday.

Crawford must have the mistaken impression that his party cares about fiscal responsibility. Don’t know where he got that from. In fact, his party cares about redistributing wealth upwards. This is the direct opposite! Did he not read the charter?

There’s nothing yet up at Crawford’s House website, so I suppose there’s still time for him to change his mind. His profile as a representative of largely rural Arkansas makes sense for this move, although I think the Waltons might want to have a word with him. Bentonville isn’t in his district, however.

The Tea Party Bat-Signal has been triggered on Crawford for his heresy, but he’s no fool. The filing deadline for Congressional elections in Arkansas ended March 1.

Of course, Crawford wants a balanced approach, and Republican holdouts on taxes were the only thing that stopped a bad debt limit deal which would have cut Medicare or Medicaid benefits. But I don’t see Crawford starting a stampede toward tax hikes, so all this does is soften up the Republican Party politically and make them look more intransigent.

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David Dayen

David Dayen