Super committee Republicans proposed a deal last week that includes only $300 billion in revenue increases, all in the form of deduction eliminations, a paltry concession that was vastly outweighed by the massive tax cut for the rich the plan also included. While the proposal was an attempt to make Republicans look like they were actually considering revenue increases as part of a deal, it was quickly dismissed by Democrats. Even anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist saw through the plan, dismissing it as nothing more than a “negotiating position.”
Super committee co-chair Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) made that clear yesterday, suggesting to CNBC’s Larry Kudlow that “any penny” in revenue increases would be a deal-breaker for the committee’s Republican members. “But listen, any penny of increased static revenue is a step in the wrong direction,” Hensarling said.
Now, however, with Democrats rebuking Hensarling’s comments as “unhelpful,” and even some Republicans agreeing that the party may need to concede on taxes, Hensarling has walked back those comments, suggesting the GOP would consider new revenues in exchange for deeper concessions — in the form of entitlement cuts — from Democrats, the Hill reports:
Republicans on Wednesday signaled they would consider higher tax revenues to win a supercommittee deal if Democrats offer deeper cuts to entitlement spending. [...]
Briefing reporters on Wednesday, Hensarling said Republicans would be “more than happy to negotiate” around a new offer from Democrats, pointedly declining to say whether $250 billion was the maximum in new revenue the GOP could accept.
“I’m waiting for the Democrats to put fundamental reform on the table,” Hensarling said.
According to the Washington Post, the GOP is beginning to undergo an “identity crisis” when it comes to taxes, as members have realized that reaching a super committee deal and balancing the country’s budget is impossible without raising new revenue.
But while Hensarling’s new position may seem reasonable on its face, it’s unfortunate that he and his party continue to hold vital entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security hostage while supporting massive tax cuts for the rich, even as a growing number of millionaires are begging the GOP to raise their taxes to help address the nation’s debt. Those actions are particularly troubling in the face of recent reports from economists who warned that such austerity measures will only push the country closer to the brink of another recession.