If John Boehner sticks to this nonsense, don't expect a serious deal on the national debt this year:
House Speaker John A. Boehner will issue a warning Tuesday to President Obama a day before the president is set to deliver a major speech on the nation’s deficit: Raising taxes is “unacceptable and a nonstarter.”
Mr. Boehner plans to issue the warning in a statement Tuesday afternoon, according to a copy of the statement The Caucus obtained. In it, Mr. Boehner says Republicans are “open to hearing” proposals from Mr. Obama about dealing with Medicare and other entitlements that reduce the nation’s long-term debt.
But he says a proposal by the president that includes tax increases will be treated as evidence that the president is not serious about dealing with the country’s long-term fiscal health.
This is government by bizarro logic. Any proposal by the president that didn't include tax increases should be treated as evidence that he is not serious about dealing with the country's long-term fiscal health.
That is for two reasons.
First, retiring the baby boomers without cutting deeply into the entitlements we all know they'll demand will cost mountains of money, even if you reform those programs. If anything, we aren't likely to hear the president express enough willingness to raise taxes on anyone beyond the wealthy, perhaps with efficient and efficacious taxes on carbon or gasoline.
Second, even if demography didn't demand raising taxes on at least some Americans, politics does. David Plouffe on Sunday was right on one thing concerning GOP Rep. Paul Ryan's much-discussed new budget plan — there's simply no way it passes. The left has attacked even the more moderate proposal from the president's fiscal commission because it would cut more in spending than it would raise in taxes.
Boehner just proved, once again, that neither party is brave enough yet on the national debt. If the Republicans were, they'd hold their fire on tax hikes. If the Democrats were, they'd hold their fire on entitlement cuts.