GOP Aide: “No New Tax Increases” Pledge Is Intellectually Dishonest
Republicans are playing politics with the National Debt. Please don't tell me you're shocked.
Further signs that the Norquist Orthodoxy on taxes isn’t as widely accepted in the GOP as we’re led to believe:
A senior GOP aid I spoke with, who asked that his name be withheld to speak freely, said the Republicans’ no-tax-increase stance wasn’t “intellectually honest” in the real world.
“There are two worlds,” the source said. “One world is political, and the sole objective is to maintain party message. The other world is real, and in the real world, fixing the deficit is a matter of national survival. When you get down to the real world decisions, it’s not about whether to raise taxes. It’s about the ratio of spending to revenue increases. That’s the issue.”
I repeated the question: Are you saying that the GOP’s utter resistance to revenue increases is political? The aide responded: “Yeah.” The source indicated that spending cuts should vastly outweigh tax increases, but that the final solution will probably be a blend.
For some inexplicable reason, the suggestion that politicians were being political came as a shock to The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, who relayed the above exchange:
There’s nothing news-making about politicians being political and playing games of chicken with national policy. But I had never spoken to a GOP spokesperson, on or off the record, who had drawn such a clear distinction between the party’s position against tax increases and the real-world need to raise tax revenue, even if slightly. (The source was equally damning of Democrats, who, the source said, dissembled when they talked about fixing the budget on the back of tax hikes for the rich and cuts to defense.)
The two-world frame is a brilliantly useful device. The next time you judge politicians talking about the deficit, ask yourself: To what world world do they belong? Republicans who say we can fix the budget while keeping taxes at historically low rates? They’re in the political world. Democrats who say we can fix the budget by sparing 98 percent of tax payers and by concentrating all our cuts in defense? They’re in the political world.
Really Derek? Politics in Washington, who would’ve known. I’m shocked:
Of course, what GOP aides say anonymously and what they do in public are two different things. With 2012 approaching, it seems highly unlikely that the GOP would be willing to compromise on the tax issue, even though it seems fairly clear that they know it’s inevitable that there will be tax increases of some kind at some point. On the Democratic side, there doesn’t seem to be much likelihood that they will be willing to compromise on spending cuts, and will instead stick to their absurd notion that all we need to to do balance the budget is raise taxes on “the rich.” In reality, as the anonymous GOP aide said to Thompson, what we need is a package that combines spending cuts and tax increases. Realistically, it’s the only way deficit reduction is going to happen. Politically, it’s unlikely to happen any time before 2013 because both parties think they can use this issue to victory. In the meantime, the ball gets punted at least another two years down the road, with the probability that the pain will be worse nearly inevitable at this point.