Has John Boehner really agreed to increase taxes on the rich?
Since the election, House Speaker John Boehner (R) has had some conciliatory-sounding words about the need to avoid the 'fiscal cliff.' While he's said 'new revenue' might be part of the solution, it's problematic to assume he means higher taxes on the rich.
(Page 2 of 2)
(Yes, Obama in his press conference Thursday replied that it’s hard to reach his goal of $1.6 trillion in new revenue, as part of a 10-year, $3 trillion deficit-reduction package, without raising rates on top earners. But that $1.6 trillion is his goal, not the GOP’s, so presumably it’s open to negotiation, too.)Skip to next paragraph
Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.
Should Issa lose House panel chairmanship for cutting off Cummings's mic?
Chris Christie CPAC speech: How did he do? (+video)
Hitler remark: Will it hurt Hillary Clinton? (+video)
House IRS hearing explodes. Why such anger? (+video)
George P. Bush wins Texas primary. Return of the dynasty? (+video)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Given the results of the election, many in the GOP realize that they might have a tough time resisting new taxes on high-income earners. Some conservatives outside the party, such as the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol, have publicly come out and said Republicans should accept some tax hikes as the price for getting a real deficit-cutting deal.
But the words of the GOP congressional leaders also might be read in another way: that they’d reject any increase in taxes per se, but they’d accept new revenues stemming from what they predict would be the increased economic activity spurred by wide-ranging tax code reform.
That’s how some analysts reacted to Boehner’s postelection remarks. After all, on Nov. 7 he said he'd accept new revenues that were "a byproduct of a growing economy."
“Conservative proponents of tax reform have long wanted to change the budget rules so that they get credit for bigger tax collections from hoped-for changes in economic growth that follows tax reform. The Speaker has merely restated that hope in a conciliatory tone,” wrote federal tax expert Clint Stretch earlier this month on the blog Capital Gains and Games.
Democrats call this “dynamic scoring,” and they say the heck with it. They point out that the Congressional Budget Office has studied this question and concluded that it cannot find a direct correlation between tax reform and economic growth. Obama rejected it at his Wednesday press conference.
“What I will not do is have a process that is vague that says we will sort-of, kind-of raise revenue through dynamic scoring or by closing loopholes that have not been identified,” he said.
So that’s the state of play heading into Friday’s meeting between the two sides at the White House. We’ll have a better idea about the chances of quick fiscal deal after they’ve exchanged initial positions that may provide more detail on this crucial question. Keep in mind that Boehner has to negotiate with his own party's hard-line antitax right wing as well as the Democrats he'll face across the table.