Boehner's Fear of a Tax Increase

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 10 2011 10:26 AM

Boehner's Fear of a Tax Increase

Early yesterday evening, the Speaker's office published the entirety of his speech to the Economic Club of New York. The debt limit stuff had been telegraphed; I covered that yesterday. The portion about whether taxes can ever be raised was not previewed.

I ran for Congress in 1990, the year our nation's leaders struck a so-called bargain that raised taxes as part of a bipartisan plan to balance the budget.

The result of that so-called bargain was the recession of the early 1990s. It wasn't until the economy picked back up toward the end of that decade that we achieved a balanced budget.

Today some seem intent on recycling the 1990 budget deal, only this time with much larger tax increases.

That's not going to happen, and I've told that to the president. A tax hike would wreak havoc not only on our economy's ability to create private-sector jobs, but also on our ability to tackle the national debt.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

Advertisement

It's not exactly settled that the tax increase of 1990 caused the recession. There were a lot of causes -- the S&L aftermath, Middle East unrest, Fed policy, etc and etc. Tax policy didn't help, but that barely matters. What matters it that are several Republican articles of faith on taxes. To name three.

1) Tax cuts increase revenue.

2) The economy grew out of recession the 1980s because Reagan cut taxes.

3) The tax hike of 1990 hurt the economy and led to the defeat of George H.W. Bush, proving for all time that there is no upside to a deal with Democrats on taxes.

The first point is objectively untrue; the second and third points are debatable. Republicans don't think they're debatable. Boehner certainly doesn't. And so: No discussion about tax increases on any horizon, as revenue stays meager and stagnant.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
History
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 29 2014 3:10 PM The Lonely Teetotaler Prudie counsels a letter writer who doesn’t drink alcohol—and is constantly harassed by others for it.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 29 2014 11:56 PM Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation Humankind has lots of great ideas for the future. We need people to carry them out.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 29 2014 11:32 PM The Daydream Disorder Is sluggish cognitive tempo a disease or disease mongering?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.