Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) threw down the gauntlet on the debt ceiling last night in a speech to the Economic Club of New York. Then this morning in an exclusive interview on the “Today” show he said this craziness about tax increases.
“It’s off the table,” Boehner said forcefully when Matt Lauer asked him about tax increases. That elicited eye-rolling exasperation from me. I’m not alone in this. Ryan McConaghy of Third Way told me that “taking a spending-cut-only approach is a mathematical non-starter.” But Maya MacGuineas of the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget made a good point in an e-mail to me: “[E]verything needs to be open for discussion,” she said, “but you can’t really expect Speaker Boehner to propose a tax increase — I assume he is waiting to see what the White House and Democrats will propose.”
Okay. Fine. But if Washington is going to deal with its debts and deficits “as adults” as Boehner told Lauer, then he’s going to have to start talking like one.