Hang On: 40 Republican Members of Congress Want Tax Hikes?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 3 2011 9:42 AM

Hang On: 40 Republican Members of Congress Want Tax Hikes?

This was lost a bit in the air-sucking maelstrom of Cainmania yesterday, but on first look, it seemed like something new. One hundred members of the House -- including 40 Republicans -- sent an open letter to the supercommittee. Ho-hum, right? Not this time! The letter uses the voodoo incantation of the tax-raiser, which I have bolded below.

To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table.  In addition, we know from other bipartisan frameworks that a target of some $4 trillion in deficit reduction is necessary to stabilize our debt as a share of the economy and assure America’s fiscal well-being.

Among the Republicans who's signed this: Ron Paul, whose campaign literature says, as it says every year, that he's "never voted for a tax increase." How do you get to "$4 trillion in deficit reduction" without tax increases? You really don't. Rep. Dave Camp, the chairman of Ways and Means, a key supercommittee, and not a signatory of the letter, has talked about starting corporate tax reform as a revenue-raiser, but that would be toward a deal that got us barely to $1.2 trillion of savings, not $4 trillion.

So are we talking about a change-of-heart move toward tax hikes? Not yet. Rep. Devin Nunes, one of the surprise Republican signers, said off the floor yesterday that he was interested in "radical tax reform." The likelihood of that happening in the plan that must be delivered on November 23? Really, really slim.

UPDATE: Ron Paul's campaign spokesman Jesse Benton answers my question, about whether the Champion of the Constitution's signature indicates that he could vote for a plan that raised taxes or closed loopholes.

"No," says Benton. "He will vote against any tax or fee increases."

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


The World

The Budget Disaster that Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

How Movies Like Contagion and Outbreak Distort Our Response to Real Epidemics

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

Everything You Should Know About Today’s Eclipse

An Unscientific Ranking of Really, Really Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Can Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu Pull Off One More Louisiana Miracle?

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Oct. 23 2014 11:51 AM It Seems No One Is Rich or Happy: I Looked.
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 23 2014 10:30 AM Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 11:34 AM Louis C.K. Crashes a Brad Pitt Interview on Between Two Ferns
Oct. 23 2014 11:45 AM The United States of Reddit  How social media is redrawing our borders. 
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.