A Supercommittee Tax-Hike Surrender Means Republicans Would Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Commenting on Supercommittee deliberations last month, I asked whether Republicans will choose the real budgetary savings of a sequester or surrender to a tax hike.

Well, it appears that the GOP likes being known as the Stupid Party and is seriously considering a plan to increase the net tax burden on the American people – even though some of us have warned from the beginning that the left would use the Supercommittee process as an opportunity to trick gullible Republicans into a tax increase.

Here’s the relevant section of an editorial by Steve Moore in this morning’s Wall Street Journal.

…raising rates and raising revenues are different. Eliminating loopholes in exchange for making the Bush tax cuts permanent after 2013 is on the table—and by broadening the tax base, this could bring in tens of billions of new revenues each year. Says Mr. Hensarling: “Republicans want more revenues. We want more revenues by growing the economy; we’re not happy with revenues at 14% of GDP, but we don’t want to do it by raising rates.” One positive development on taxes taking shape is a deal that could include limiting tax deductions, perhaps by capping write-offs on charities, state and local taxes, and mortgage interest payments as a percentage of each tax filer’s gross income.

I’m a bit disappointed that Steve thinks restricting deductions is a “positive development.” I’m a big fan of getting rid of all preferences and distortions in the tax code, but that should only happen if all the revenue is used to finance lower tax rates, not to finance big government.

But that’s a secondary issue.

Republicans have complete power to achieve a victory in this battle. All that’s needed is for them to say no to a tax hike. That will lead to a Supercommittee stalemate, which will then lead to automatic budget savings known as sequestration.

Failure to take that option – particularly when the alternative is a tax hike – is breathtakingly misguided.

Especially when the historical evidence is overwhelming that any new tax revenue will be used to make government even bigger. Heck, the cartoon in this post is a disturbingly accurate description of what’s happening.

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