Tax and Appropriations

Baby Steps

Don’t look now, but the GOP appears to be taking baby steps away from their rigid refusal to include revenues as part of a balanced deficit reduction plan. Facing a “fiscal cliff” later this year, all solutions need to be on the table. But so far the GOP has exclusively focused on spending cuts and walked away from any sort of comprehensive deal.

But there are signs that may be changing. Both Politico and The Washington Post have reported that conservative members are finally standing up to Grover Norquist and his unhelpful, unrealistic pledge and admitting that all options need to be on the table to address our deficit problem (gee, where have we heard that before…).

And as Politico reports this morning, there finally may be a thaw in the GOP’s no-tax orthodoxy:

“Cracks are emerging in the GOP’s hard-line stance against raising tax revenues to slash the deficit, with a number of Republicans willing to go further than their party’s standard-bearer in the face of a looming showdown over the budget.”

The softening rhetoric in an election year rife with deficit politics reflects a gulf between Mitt Romney, who pledged during the primary season to oppose new taxes as part of a debt deal, and several Republicans in Congress who are coming to grips with the likelihood that there may be no other path to an accord.”

“…All of this points to shifting politics in the tax debate, as Democrats pummel the GOP for opposing tax hikes on millionaires and billionaires. Increasingly, Hill Republicans are signaling flexibility on taxes ahead of another major budget fight.”

Baby steps are nice, but let’s see if Republicans are ready to take the big leap and admit what economists have said all along: revenues will have to be part a comprehensive deficit reduction package.