House Speaker John Boehner told Republicans that he will not raise the debt ceiling without everybody bowing down to their demands on trillions of dollars in spending cuts to the federal government.
But what was most monumental was Boehner’s laying a marker that will set the stage for interesting negotiations with Congressional Democrats and the White House as they work to find a solution to raising the debt ceiling.
“Without significant spending cuts and reforms to reduce our debt, there will be no debt limit increase,” Boehner said. “And the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given. We should be talking about cuts of trillions, not just billions.”
Let's cut trillions and trillions and trillions just for the heck of it. Why David Plouffe seemed to think -- as he told us on a blogger conference call -- that the debt-ceiling negotiations with Republicans was going to be as easy as apple pie I'll never know. Everyone could see this coming.
Why aren't the media railing at Boehner and Republicans for their mind-boggling irresponsibility about this whole debt-ceiling debate? Did you ever hear Republicans complaining about it when Bush was in office? Of course not: They understood that the full faith and credit of the United States was at stake, and the thought never crossed their minds.
Then Boehner made an appearance on the Today show to top it all off and highlighted the absolute gibberish that Republicans speak when they talk about tax cuts, the wealthy and deficits.
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LAUER: Why not use an increase in revenues? Tax hikes to help with that debt problem? What is the evidence that you can present that the tax cuts of the Bush era have actually accomplished their goals?
BOEHNER: Well, what you're – what some are suggesting is that we take this money from people who would invest in our economy and create jobs and we give it to the government. The fact is you can't tax the very people that we expect to invest in our economy and create jobs. Washington doesn't have a revenue problem. Washington has a spending problem.
LAUER: But when you look at – you talk about creating jobs, when the Bush era tax cuts were passed in 2001, unemployment in this country was 4.5%. Today it's at 9%, just down from 10%. So why are the Bush-era tax cuts creating jobs?
BOEHNER: They created about 8 million jobs over the first ten years that they were in existence. We've lost about 5 million of those jobs during this recession. But you can't raise taxes. We can take all of the money from the wealthy and guess what? We'd hardly make a dent in the annual deficit and do nothing about the $14.3 trillion worth of debt.
Lauer begins with a good question. What is the evidence that the Bush tax cut accomplished its goal? Boehner refuses to present any. Indeed, answering this question would lead him into an inescapable minefield.
The Bush tax cuts are currently in effect, so any benefits of continuing them must have been felt from 2001 until the present date. That would imply those effects are less than impressive. So instead, Boehner simply restates his position. We can't take money away from job creators. Why not? You just can't. "The fact is," he continues, mistaking opinion for fact, "you can't tax the very people that we expect to invest in our economy and create jobs." You can't tax them at all? Obviously we have to tax them some, right? So then the question is what is the optimal level. I believe recent history suggests that Clinton-era tax levels create no significant harmful incentive effect. Boehner can't even come near this question, because he simply insists that tax the rich is wrong is an absolute sense.
And as Chait highlighted in his post:
Lauer, to his credit, tries again, asking for any evidence the Bush tax cuts created jobs. Boehner replies, "They created about 8 million jobs over the first ten years that they were in existence. We've lost about 5 million of those jobs during this recession." Right. That's a net of 3 million jobs over eight years. That's horrible! 3 million new jobs is, as the Wall Street Journal news staff put it, "the worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records."
Clinton created 23 million new jobs without the Bush tax cuts. It is frustrating that these lies about tax cuts by Republicans keep percolating throughout the media. They don't want to have an intelligent conversation about any of this and the beltway media lets them get away with it. You can't cut your way out of a recession and if tax cuts were teh awesome, then why have they failed so swimmingly?