House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. REUTERS

Unwavering Republican resistance to higher taxes has been a central obstacle to a debt talks deal, and no Congressman has embodied the anti-tax stance more than House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va..

Cantor has repeatedly maintained that increased taxes would dampen an economic recovery by inhibiting businesses. He has couched his position in the populist rhetoric of the Tea Party's opposition to big government, equating higher taxes with a "stagnant European-style welfare state with limited individual opportunity and entrepreneurship" and contending that changes to the tax code would harm "mom and pop" businesses.

But the tax increases he was talking about are more likely to affect Wall Street heavyweights than small businesses, The Washington Post notes. The White House has sought to increase taxes on profits reaped from the sale of hedge funds or from the gains hedge fund managers generate from investments, something Cantor has vigorously opposed. Those proposals were the primary reason Cantor exited debt talks led by Vice President Joe Biden in June, the Post reported.

Cantor received $2.4 million in 2010 from the finance, insurance and real estate industry, outpacing other Republican leaders in the House.

"This [anti-tax stance] isn't all coming up from the grass roots," U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told the Post. "This goes to some longtime cozy relationships between House Republicans and hedge fund managers in the financial sector."