TIMOTHY NOAH NOVEMBER 16, 2011
Am I missing something? The Republican Study Committee is circulating a letter urging that the super committee "not increase Americans' tax burden. With current levels of taxation already limiting economic growth, we believe that marginal rates must be maintained or lowered and that repeal of any tax credit or deduction be offset with an equal or greater tax cut."
The deal currently being offered by super committee Republicans meets every one of those goals. As I explained yesterday, their tax package nets out to a tax cut of more than $3 trillion (if you count the plan's renewal of all the Bush tax cuts) or about $2 trillion (if you assume Obama was never going to cancel all the Bush tax cuts but only those for families earning more than $250,000). A planned increase in the top marginal rate from 35 percent to 38.6 percent gets cancelled under the GOP super committee proposal, and the top rate might get lowered further to 28 percent. In exchange, the super committee Republicans want to close some loopholes. The Republican Study Committee can't abide that. It wants more tax cuts to offset the revenue gained by the closing of any loopholes. To summarize: $2 to $3 trillion in tax cuts (as part of a deficit reduction deal!) just isn't good enough for the GOP's right flank.
What I fear is that the press will decide that since the tax proposal put forward by the super committee's Republican members has come under fire from both the right and the left, then it must be reasonable and any and all who oppose it must be extremists. A fair accusation to level against the Republican Study Committee. But the Democrats would have to be out of their minds to accept a deal that purports to be a $250 billion tax increase but in fact is a $2 to $3 trillion tax cut. I'm all for entitlement cuts in exchange for a tax increase. There truly is no other way to lower the long-term deficit. But this isn't a tax increase. Repeat: This isn't a tax increase. Would someone please tell the Washington Post? It's so busy tut-tutting the death of bipartisanship that it's forgotten how to do simple arithmetic.