The Winston Group is a strategy and research firm dedicated to making ideas matter.

U.S. News: Obama’s Losing Hand

by David Winston

Over on U.S. News and World Report‘s Thomas Jefferson Street politics blog, I have a post today urging Republicans to stand strong on the sequester:

There is simply no reason for the GOP to accept “additional revenue,” Democrats’ cutesy euphemism for higher taxes, now. Spending cuts are coming. The president can work across the aisle to target those cuts more carefully, but he cannot force his opposition to trade them away for something they don’t want. Unlike with the scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts, allowing current law to go into effect does not produce an unacceptable outcome for Republicans. Cuts from a scalpel may be preferable to cuts from a machete, but when you’re $16 trillion in debt, cuts from any instrument beat none at all.

Click here to read the full article.

US News: Raising Taxes Could Curtail Government Spending

by David Winston

The Winston Group is excited to announce that Kristen, Noah and myself will be contributing a weekly politics post to the US News and World Report Thomas Jefferson Street blog. In the first installment, published today, I discuss the ways that keeping tax rates low may actually be enabling our bloated government:

U.S. public debt has increased eightfold since 1986. Thus far, Americans have enjoyed more than $16 trillion in benefits beyond what they’ve actually paid for. As a result, we have precious little sense of the true costs of the programs we now expect our government to provide us. As any economist will tell you, being insulated from the price of something inevitably leads consumers to demand more of it. Is there reason to believe government is any different?

Click here to read the rest of the post.

Politico: John Boehner to GOP: Stick together on taxes

by Lisa Mathias

Politico reports on the week’s talks and meetings regarding the fiscal cliff, focusing on what Speaker Boehner is urging House Republicans to do. Boehner has been citing data from our recent survey to help support his stance on taxes:

Boehner used a three-page slide show to prove his point, drawing on a recent poll by David Winston. The poll, displayed on blue pages and festooned by stars, displayed three statistics that bolstered the House Republican position on taxes: that tax rates shouldn’t go up on the rich, but the code should be reformed to eliminate loopholes and lower rates all while cutting spending.

Read more:

US News and World Report: “Limiting Bush-era Tax Cuts Harms Small Businesses”

by Lisa Mathias

The WG’s Stephanie Slade writes in today’s Debate Club column in US News about the implications of President Obama decision to end the Bush tax cuts for those earning $250,000 or more. Slade sees this as a potential problem for small business owners and those looking for employment.

Perhaps they realize that almost 900,000 small businesses will see their taxes go up under the president’s proposal. In an economy adding a paltry 75,000 jobs a month, one can hardly blame them for worrying that 14 million unemployed Americans might not take kindly to a tax on the people most likely to put them back to work.

To read the full op-ed, turn to

The Columbus Dispatch: ‘Fair taxes’ in the eye of beholder

by Lisa Mathias

The Columbus Dispatch’s Jack Torry and Jessica Wehrman write about the differing opinions between Democrats and Republicans over fair taxes, particularly among those earning $1 million or more. In the middle of the debate is the proposed “Buffet Rule,” which the White House states will bring more revenue to the government, but is contested by Republicans.

Republicans contend that the White House is more interested in politics than economics. They point out there is no chance Congress would approve the Buffett Rule. David Winston, a Republican pollster in Washington, said “nobody in the country believes that raising taxes will grow the economy and create jobs.”

Read the full article at

NY Times: Obama Makes Case for ‘Buffet Rule’

by Lisa Mathias

The New York Times writes on Tuesday about President Obama’s proposed plan on the minimum tax required by the wealthiest Americans, dubbed the “Buffet Rule.” While Democrats state that polls are showing voter support for such policy change, The WG’s David Winston states that Americans won’t see it as a plan to resolve the economy and jobs problem:

“The No. 1 issue is jobs and the economy, so any proposal put forward has to look like it will advance that,” Mr. Winston said, adding, “I don’t think anybody believes that raising taxes ever grows the economy and creates jobs.”

To read more, turn to

National Journal: Some Democrats Wary of Welcoming OWS to Fold

by Lisa Mathias

Today’s National Journal features an article that outlines the unwillingness of some Democratic lawmakers to align with the Occupy Wall Street movement, hesitant to take on their populist message that may alienate voters. Democrats know that although voters generally support taxing the rich, voters don’t like the idea of raising taxes, especially during a struggling economy, as The WG’s David Winston points out:

“Even if you’re talking about taxing some other group, at some point, voters think, ‘It’s going to come back to me,’” said David Winston, a Republican pollster. “It’s like opening Pandora’s box.”

To read the full article, turn to

The Washington Examiner: The next step for Republicans in the debt fight

by Lisa Mathias

Byron York writes in today’s Washington Examiner about where Republicans are at in terms of messaging on the debt ceiling. One perspective paints a negative picture, unwilling to accept any Democratic offers; another perspective looks at the GOP as unyielding because they care about jobs and the economy.

To read more about the GOP and the debt ceiling, turn to

The Fix: Obama’s winning message on taxes?

by Lisa Mathias

The Washington Post’s Chris Cilizza writes in today’s column President Obama’s plans to talk about his debt reduction plan in a few states. The plan has incited debate on what the best actions are in terms of taxes, since Obama’s plan does not include the Bush tax cuts. Cilizza turned to The WG’s David Winston for an explanation as to why Obama will lose on the tax debate:

“People believe increasing taxes hurts economic growth,” said Winston.

Winston added that when the tax debate heats up over the coming months, several facts — the U.S. corporate tax is the highest in the world and ending the Bush tax cuts on those earning $250,000 and above would impact 894,000 small businesses to name two — that aren’t widely known by the public will help Republicans ultimately win the tax debate.

To read the full article, turn to GOP: Power players or ‘hostage takers’?

by Lisa Mathias

CNN’s Kristi Keck featured comments from David Winston in an article chronicling the ongoing struggle between Republicans and Democrats to work with each other, particularly on the issue of tax cuts. Winston refers to a past president who more readily worked with members on the other side:

Republican strategist David Winston said the unresolved question is — Can Obama do what Clinton did and “recognize what the election meant”?
“It looks like potentially he could pivot … but he’s obviously getting resistance within his own party,” said Winston, who worked for then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich during Clinton’s second term.

To read the full article, turn to

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