Top Republicans finally admit tax cuts alone will not shrink deficit

Rare is the occasion when the GOP admits to wrongs or about-faces on political philosophy. One must cherish those moments, for they are like the Catholic Church saying, “Oh yeah, we were kind of wrong about that thing [Nazis, the Inquisition, fill in the blank however you wish].” In these moments, delusional hubris meets reality head on. And so it is with certain GOP stalwarts’ recent admission that tax cuts alone with not shrink that Bush-created deficit and debt. The revolt (if one can call it that) grew out of a firm rebuke of Grover Norquist’s authoritarian Taxpayer Protection Pledge, signed in 1986.

Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia conservative, told Georgia TV station 13WMAZ, “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge… If we do it his way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.” Well, what’s with the sudden change of heart, Mr. Chambliss? Why now? Is it to save face as we approach that fear-mongering “fiscal cliff” idea bandied about by legislators and certain members of the media?

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, appearing on ABC’s This Week, said, “I think Grover is wrong when it comes to, ‘We can’t cap deductions and buy down debt,” adding, “I’m willing to generate revenue… When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans should put revenue on the table. We’re this far in debt. We don’t generate enough revenue.”

Say what? We don’t generate enough revenue? These GOP guys are funny. For four years their main objective was to make Obama, in Mitch McConnell’s words, a “one-term president,” and now they’re practically talking like European social democrats.

The interesting subtext here is that the GOP is finally admitting that, just as in the Clinton years (which brought a budget surplus), it is a combination of increased revenue and spending cuts that balance the budget. And again, like Clinton, they are very publicly entertaining the idea of a millionaire’s tax. Even The Weekly Standard neo-conservative mouthpiece Bill Kristol, appearing on Fox News Sunday, said, “You know what? It won’t kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. It really won’t, I don’t think.”

Tax millionaires, Bill? Damnation.