Congressional Republicans last week, as we’ve been documenting, blew up negotiations meant to produce a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling due to their insistence that no taxes be increased anywhere, even on those making more than half a million dollars annually. Summing up the attitude that the GOP has taken toward the obvious need to raise new revenues, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that, if given a choice, he would rather have a bigger deficit than see taxes go up on anyone, even the richest Americans:
MR. WESSEL: Would you rather reach [a deficit of] 3% [of GDP] even if it required some revenue increases, or hold the line on revenue and settle for a higher deficit?
MR. CAMP: What we want to do is not have higher revenues. Because the issue is who’s going to pay them. Their idea is always, quote unquote, “rich people over $250,000.” Half of that, as we know, is small business, which is the very sector we need to see some growth in.
For starters, Camp is simply wrong that half of those making more than $250,000 are people running small businesses. This is a common Republican claim that has no basis in reality.
But its Camp’s clear pronouncement that a bigger deficit is preferable to raising taxes even on the richest two percent of Americans that makes his priorities clear. When asked “if you had to raise revenues, where would be the least damaging place to look?” Camp literally refused to name anything. “I can’t think of a least damaging place,” he said.
However, Camp, unlike many of his Republican colleagues, did say that the debt ceiling needs to be raised before the August 2 deadline identified by the Treasury Department. “We need to because we can’t default,” he said. “The concern is, if you get close to that date without a deal, what the markets may do.” Several other Republicans have floated the possibility of forcing the U.S. over the cliff and into defaulting on some obligations for a short period while a deal is brokered.