Okay, kids, let’s review the Republican fiscal position as of today. Eric Cantor has walked out of Joe Biden’s budget talks because Democrats are insisting that tax hikes be part of any debt-ceiling deal. But Cantor and his entire party have already voted for the Ryan budget plan, a plan that does not include any tax hikes and which as a result (despite its controversial spending cuts) still racks up $5.4 trillion in fresh debt over the next decade.
Before Thursday it would have been hard to find a purer example of political posturing and hypocrisy than Republican support for a plan that adds $5.4 trillion to the debt even as Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling. But that phoniness factor has just been increased by Cantor’s huff.
For the umpteenth time, let me say it: President Obama should insist that both sides increase the debt limit only by the amount it would take to accommodate the Ryan budget’s debt over the next decade — and then say we can work out the details later. If the president came before a microphone and uttered these few lines it would change the entire news coverage, and thus the dynamics, of this negotiation overnight. With Cantor pulling stunts like this one, isn’t it time the White House did something creative?