Republican Tax Increases: A Centrist Fantasy That Refuses to Die

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Dave Weigel points me to Ron Fournier’s latest column:

As late as a year ago, just a few months after Obama shoved a reelection tax hike down their throats, the GOP leadership was still open to compromise. A budget deal would be hard, but not impossible, to strike. The situation required an able, nimble partner in the White House, a president who could help the GOP leadership reach and sell a deal to their conservative base. In March 2013, I wrote of the GOP: “Don’t mistake a negotiating position for reality. House Republicans tell me they are open to exchanging entitlement reform for new taxes—$250 billion to $300 billion, or approximately the amount that Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania proposed raising over 10 years under the guise of tax reform.”

The numbers were specific because the possibility of a deal was real. But the White House, quite literally, laughed at it. The president had already bowed to his base, given up on compromise, and damaged his legacy.

I just don’t get this. Are there a few House Republicans who are open to a tax increase? Sure. Probably. Is there even the slightest chance of getting a majority of the GOP caucus to support a tax increase? Of course not. The evidence on this score is overwhelming. John Boehner was never able to get agreement even for the smoke-and-mirrors version of a tax increase, the kind that relies on dynamic scoring and rosy growth estimates. Nor were Republicans willing to accept Toomey’s proposal, even though it was effectively a tax cut, not a tax increase. There’s just plainly never been any chance at all of getting agreement for a proposal that would genuinely, concretely raise revenue.

I’m just flummoxed by this stuff. Whatever else you think of Fournier, he’s an experienced reporter who understands the political landscape. How can he possibly believe this stuff?

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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