Conservative David Brooks points out that the Republicans in Congress are being handed “The Mother of All No-Brainers” to reduce the deficit, but they are so beholden to their more radical fringe that they would rather destroy the US economy than do what is right, as long as what is right involves compromising with the president. His conclusion: If Republicans force the US government to default, they are unfit to govern.
This newspaper has a strong dislike of big government; we have long argued that the main way to right America’s finances is through spending cuts. But you cannot get there without any tax rises. In Britain, for instance, the coalition government aims to tame its deficit with a 3:1 ratio of cuts to hikes. America’s tax take is at its lowest level for decades: even Ronald Reagan raised taxes when he needed to do so.
And the closer you look, the more unprincipled the Republicans look. Earlier this year House Republicans produced a report noting that an 85%-15% split between spending cuts and tax rises was the average for successful fiscal consolidations, according to historical evidence. The White House is offering an 83%-17% split (hardly a huge distance) and a promise that none of the revenue increase will come from higher marginal rates, only from eliminating loopholes. If the Republicans were real tax reformers, they would seize this offer.
They call the Republicans “economically illiterate and disgracefully cynical”.
CNN says “Republicans have moved beyond politics and into theology: Offered an exchange of billions in taxes for trillions in deficit cuts, they could not see their way beyond their no-tax religion.”
And just to show you how much the Republicans are putting politics ahead of their country, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said today “I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is probably unattainable.” The Republicans will not agree to solve the budget crisis as long as Obama is president, even if that causes an “economic catastrophe” as many economists have warned.