As the Republican presidential debates begin, we can expect once again to see someone ask whether the candidates are so opposed to tax increases that they would reject even a deficit reduction deal that included ten dollars in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax increases. This has become a favorite liberal “gotcha” question.
However, if the question were asked in a way that reflected the reality of the legislative process, it would go something like this. “Would you agree to a permanent tax increase in return for an unenforceable promise that future Congresses will cut spending enough, mostly in the distant future, to be ten times greater than the permanent tax increase?”
A better question would be asked of the liberal leadership in Congress, and would say “Would you be willing to offer a Republican president a deal that increased taxes for next year only before expiring, and cut spending by ten times that much in the next fiscal year?”
If the liberal leadership in Congress professes a willingness to offer such a deal, then Republicans presidential candidates could be asked if they would accept it – but it will never happen.
Peter J. Thomas
Chairman, Americans for Constitutional Liberty