Over the weekend, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) reportedly offered to allow tax rates to increase on income in excess of $1 million as part of negotiations over the so-called “fiscal cliff.” For several reasons, Boehner’s offer is little more than a joke.
Boehner also reportedly offered to raise the debt ceiling for a year as part of the deal. However, according to Boehner spokesman Michael Steele, “Any debt limit increase would require cuts and reforms of a greater amount”:
Boehner’s offer signals that he expects a big deal with sufficient savings to meet his demand that any debt limit increase be paired dollar for dollar with spending cuts. That would permit him to keep a key vow to his party — and head off a potentially nasty debt-limit fight — at least until the end of next year.
“Our position has not changed,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said Sunday. “Any debt limit increase would require cuts and reforms of a greater amount.”
Once again, Boehner is threatening to take the creditworthiness of the U.S. — and thus the whole U.S. economy — hostage to spending cuts (even as he fundamentally misunderstands what the debt ceiling does). And he promises not to do it again for an entire year if he gets his way!
The last debt ceiling standoff initiated by the House GOP will wind up costing the U.S. more than $18 billion in elevated interest payments on its debt and one million jobs. The White House quickly rejected Boehner’s offer. As part of its opening bid in the fiscal cliff negotiations, the administration proposed changing the process for raising the debt limit in order to end the now-perpetual standoffs between the White House and Congress.