Did you know Simpson-Bowles has $2.6 trillion in tax increases? Or that it taxes capital gains as ordinary income? Or that it cuts deeper into defense than the sequester? Or that it raises the gas tax by 15 cents? These, and other amazing facts, inside.
Boehner is offering $800 billion in tax revenues. That's what he offered a year ago. But because of how the budget works, matching his offer from a year ago would mean putting $950 billion in the table.
"Base-broadening, rate-lowering tax reform." It sounds so good, right? But what if you call it what it really is? Charity-destroying, home-shrinking, state-burdening tax reform. Doesn't sound as good, does it?
Don't take Norquist's pledge at face value. It's an absurdity. From a budgetary standpoint, it's an obscenity. And everyone -- Norquist included, because he is very, very smart -- knew it would eventually fall. It's how it falls that matters. And right now, it's falling exactly according to plan.
The Washington consensus on tax reform is that it'll solve all our problems: It slices, it dices, it cleans up after itself. But that’s not the economic profession’s consensus. If income tax reform solves any problem, it's a political one, not an economic one.
Simpson-Bowles assumes the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000. It's built into their "plausible baseline." Having banked the revenue from those tax cuts, they then turn to tax reform.
Many people thought we were seeing the outline of a deal: Republicans agree to raise revenues so long as they get the fig leaf of holding rates steady, or potentially even lowering them. The White House is saying the deal won't work.
"When Republicans say the first thing you do when you do deficit reduction is reduce rates," Sen. Chuck Schumer tells me, "it would be like Democrats saying the first thing you do when you do deficit reduction is provide free Medicare at age 55. We’d like to do that! But it won’t bring the deficit down.
After promising in 2008 to bring about a new era of cooperation in Washington, Obama is campaigning in 2012 knowing that, if reelected, he will start his second term with a brutal, economy-shaking showdown with Republicans over spending and taxes.