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Freshman GOP congressman backs surtax on rich

Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas says we can't get a deficit agreement without tax hikes.

David Brancaccio: Moving on now to a "man bites dog" story -- maybe "bites elephant." A Republican Congressman is proposing a tax increase, Arkansas' Rick Crawford has endorsed a 5 percent surtax on income above a million dollars, if -- if -- Congress approves a balanced budget amendment.

Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports.


John Dimsdale: Crawford is one of 238 Representatives who’ve signed the no new tax pledge sponsored by Americans For Tax Reform. ATR’s president Grover Norquist says Crawford just betrayed the voters.

Grover Norquist: Yeah, it’s a tax increase. So it’d be a violation of the pledge. 

At least two other House members, who signed the pledge long go, now say they’ve changed their minds.

Norquist: Yeah, and people can tell that to the bank about their mortgage and tell that to their wives about marriage contracts and any other contract. But this is a written statement by a congressman. And it lasts as long as they’re a congressman or senator.

But lawmakers have to include some tax increases in any successful deficit reduction plan, says the American Enterprise Institute’s Kevin Hassett.

Kevin Hassett: A balanced budget amendment with about a 5 percent income tax surcharge would be pretty close, I think. 

He says Crawford’s budget reform proposal could be a model for a “grand bargain.”

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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