Do Republicans Have Ratio-Myopia?


Ezra Klein is confused about why Republicans are holding out on a sequester deal that cuts spending but also raises revenues by limiting deductions for high earners. After all, nobody believes Republicans will get bigger spending cuts by holding out, nor does anyone believe that Obama will eventually agree to some future deal that pairs up deductions and lower tax rates without a net increase in revenues. So maybe it’s this?

A third answer is that the anti-tax pledge holds that cutting deductions to reduce the deficit is a tax increase, and Republicans won’t vote for a tax increase, even if it results in a policy outcome they vastly prefer. In other words, it’s ratio-myopia.

And perhaps that’s the real answer. But it’s a bit hard to believe. Perhaps I’m missing something?

I’m confused about the confusion. Republicans have been the anti-tax party for more than 30 years now. They’ve never been willing to trade tax increases for spending cuts, and they’ve been vocally, implacably dedicated to this during every budget showdown of the past three years. A deal that includes both spending cuts and tax increases is very much not a policy outcome they vastly prefer.

So yeah, #3 is the real answer. I don’t quite get why this is hard to believe.

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