I tend to agree with John Boehner’s decision to go for smaller spending cuts without a tax hike–a position which James Pethokoukis outlines. It is disappointing that we will only get $2.4 trillion in debt reduction over ten years instead of $4 trillion, and it is especially disappointing that comprehensive tax reform apparently won’t be part of any deal between the White House and Congressional Republicans, but right now, there just seems to be too much in the way of crafting and implementing a grand Congressional bargain. We are getting perilously close to default, and it would probably be best for the White House and Congress to agree on a smaller–but still significant–debt reduction package that will help bring us back to fiscal sanity, and will prevent the United States government from defaulting on its obligations. Agreeing to such a deal will but the government a lot of time to deal with the remaining long term fiscal problem, and the parties can go back to revisit the issue in order to finally bring about a tax reform package, and make any necessary further cuts to the budget.
I have no problem with the GOP’s objection to the White House’s insistence on higher taxes–quoted by Pethokoukis–an insistence that is especially bizarre, as House Republicans note, given that previously, the Obama Administration was insisting that we absolutely, positively, had to have a clean debt limit increase. But fairness requires me to point out that a couple of Republicans are being equally ridiculous. Michele Bachmann has apparently decided not to vote for a debt limit increase no matter what the final negotiated package may entail, and it appears that Tim Pawlenty is willing to follow her lead on that issue. Obviously, this puts pressure on the House Republican caucus to do the wrong thing by objecting to a good deal, and bringing about a catastrophic debt default. About the only Republicans in the Times story who are quoted as taking a reasonable position on the debt ceiling talks are Mitt Romney, and Jon Huntsman. By curious coincidence, they are the very same people who have the best chance of getting my vote in the Republican Presidential nomination contest.