Congressional leaders went to the White House on Friday in a last-ditch effort to avert the automatic “sequester” budget cuts that will soon go into effect. After the meeting, Republican leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and John Boehner (R-OH) emerged to reemphasize that the GOP will not consider any new revenues in a deal to avert the sequester.
Boehner said, “the discussion about revenue, in my view, is over.” And McConnell added, “I want to make clear that any solutions will be done through the regular order, with input from both sides of the aisle in public debate…I will not be part of any back-room deal and I will absolutely not agree to increase taxes.”
As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent noted, this position is absurd, and akin to Democrats demanding that 100 percent of future deficit reduction be achieved through tax hikes. As this chart shows, nearly three-quarters of deficit reduction that has been achieved since 2011 has been through spending cuts:
Republicans have a habit of dismissing the $1.5 trillion in spending cuts that President Obama has signed into law, while bringing up the $600 billion of revenue he signed constantly, as highlighted in this video. In fact, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) explicitly said that spending cuts adopted by the last Congress shouldn’t be taken into account when discussing how to reduce the deficit, but revenue increases adopted by that same Congress should.
And at the end of the day, all of the deficit reduction talk ignores the fact that the problem with government spending at the moment is that it is too low, not too high.