As the lame duck sessions comes a-courtin', it's time to see what sort of bargains the GOP House under Speaker John Boehner will broker to avert the fiscal cliff looming at year's end.
Here's the first hairball oracle, coughed up by the Wash Post:
Boehner suggested that Republicans would still oppose Obama's plan to take "a larger share of what the American people earn through higher tax rates," he said the party is open to "increased revenue .?.?. as the byproduct of a growing economy, energized by a simpler, cleaner, fairer tax code, with fewer loopholes, and lower rates for all."
It was not immediately clear whether Boehner meant that Republicans would acquiesce only to fresh revenues generated through economic growth rather than actual tax increases. Republicans have long argued that reforming the tax code would generate revenue by improving the economy, an assertion that budget analysts say is difficult to measure. Democrats have insisted that any deal must include tax code changes that would add to government coffers whether or not they help the economy.
But Boehner hinted that he is open to the latter, citing a Republican offer during the negotiations of the congressional supercommittee last fall, as well as his own negotiations with Obama during the 2011 debt-limit battle. At that time, Boehner had tentatively agreed to support $800 billion in additional revenue over the next decade in exchange for Obama's commitment to let the top tax rate fall below the current 35 percent. Obama and other Democrats have long insisted that the George W. Bush-era tax cuts should be permitted to expire for the nation's top earners, raising the top rate to 39.6 percent.
There's some projective fantasies going on up there in the Wash Post, for sure (what does hinted mean really?). But even those with short memories can recall that Boehner—who ran unopposed in his Ohio district—is never steadfast in his opposition to all sorts of things that contravene his supposed limited-government bona fides. And be very afraid if Boehner takes to the podium and gets the wee-wee eyes cranking up, because his tears are like acid to freedom.
Flashback to our pitch for contributions to Reason Foundation released just days after the 2010 midterms: