Republicans aren't talking about cutting taxes as the November congressional elections near, and that marks a change from an issue that's been at the GOP forefront since the days of President Ronald Reagan.
In a season dominated by the Islamic State, President Barack Obama's effectiveness, the continued Obamacare debacles and replacing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Republicans are not devoting much time to their bellwether issue, Politico
"In a campaign, you talk about what people are interested in," Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Politico. "I keep notes on all my town meetings" and "tax cuts haven’t come up."
The change marks a "little-noticed boon" for Democrats this election season, Politico reports, and may even signal a change within the GOP.
Several Republicans said they were more interested in tax reform versus tax cuts, "a subtle distinction that has major political and policy implications," according to Politico.
Republicans can cut tax rates by overhauling the tax code, but other changes have to be made to replace lost revenue, possibly hurting many taxpayers, Politico reports.
"We have to stop being one-trick ponies," said California Rep. John Campbell, a member of the Republican Study Committee. He also is the fourth-ranking GOP member on the House Budget Committee.
"I want to see taxes come down, but it’s not a panacea,” Campbell said. "It won’t cure all our ills. We can’t say tax cuts will cure this, cure that and cure the other thing, because it’s just not credible.
"The purpose of tax reform is not to cut revenue to the government or to cut taxes, it’s to grow the economy," he said.
Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole said: "People are more concerned with what’s fair and necessary in taxes than they are about an individual tax cut or tax increase for themselves."
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham described the new GOP stance on taxes this way: "The era of tax reform and overhauling the tax code is replacing [an emphasis on] numbers. A flatter tax with less deductions is the new mantra."
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, explained that Republicans are not talking much about taxes this election season because the media has focused on so many other issues.
"Do I wish everybody would talk about taxes all day?" he asked Politico. "Yes, in the same way that ministers wish everybody would read the Bible all day.
"But am I reasonably happy that the congregation has a Bible and knows what they’re doing? Yes."
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