In an interview this week with CNN's John Berman, Pennsylvania US Senator Pat Toomey demonstrated that he understands the right course of action for ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations.
The back and forth between Berman and Toomey was emblematic of many interviews of Pledge signers. It demonstrated that many in the media have never read the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and are working diligently to secure a headline about a certain Congressman willing to break their Pledge. Unfortunately for Berman and CNN, Toomey is a pro-growth conservative who intends on keeping his personal written commitment to Pennsylvania taxpayers.
Asked three separate times whether he would be willing to eliminate credits and deductions, raising taxes, Toomey explained that he would only do so if a comprehensive tax package also included rate reductions. He will not violate his Pledge to Pennsylvania voters.
Berman: You would favor raising revenue by closing loopholes and reducing reductions?
Toomey: If we were lowering marginal rates at the same time and if we were going to do something meaningful about the actual problem we have which is spending and the entitlement programs.
Berman: Would you be in favor of closing loopholes and reducing deductions without the corresponding rate cut?
Toomey: No. The revenue side isn’t where the problem lies in the first place. This is a side show to the real problem. The real problem that the President has refused to address: how we are going to put our entitlement programs on a sustainable path, how we are going to live within our means. If we're going to do something on the revenue side, by gosh sakes, let's at least not damage the economy any more than we have to and let's do it by lowering marginal rates.
Berman: Is there an income level where you would support raising the rates?
Toomey: That’s not a constructive direction to go. We could keep adding brackets and burdens on people who are productive or have a couple of good years in their business but it discourages economic growth. It discourages risk taking. It discourages entrepreneurship. I’m in favor of moving in the direction of a flatter tax system of fewer brackets and lower rates, simplicity where we get rid of the distortions that happen in the tax code, rather than speculating about how many different new brackets we can create.
Berman: On taxes again.. are you okay violating the Pledge?
Toomey: I don’t intend on violating the Pledge. My Pledge is not to support higher taxes. What we are faced with in a few weeks is a massive tax increase. If I can help ensure that we don't have that tax increase, than I believe I have fulfilled my Pledge to fight for the lowest possible taxes.