Friday, December 7, 2012

Tea Party Libertarian Rand Paul Offers a Deal

The spirit of bipartisanship sometimes comes from unexpected corners. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, son of Texas Congressman and perennial Presidential candidate Ron Paul, has offered to give Democrats the road on higher taxes:
"Why don't we let the Democrats pass whatever they want? If they are the party of higher taxes, all the Republicans in the House vote present and let the Democrats raise taxes as high as they want to raise them, let Democrats in the Senate raise taxes, let the President sign it and then they can own a tax increase."
And just to be clear, Rand Paul pledged not to filibuster such a deal.
"In the Senate, I'm happy not to filibuster it, and I will announce tonight on your show that I will work with Harry Reid to let him pass his big old tax hike with a simple majority if that's what Harry Reid wants, because then they will become the party of high taxes and they can own it."
That's an interesting offer as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can get the deal done for President Obama if he can find several more Republicans willing to break with a Republican filibuster.

Senator Rand Paul doesn't speak for the House, but if the Tea Party Caucus abstains by voting present, the Democrats in the House should have enough votes to pass the tax increase even if all the other Republicans vote no. With recent reports that House Speaker Boehner has been purging Tea Party representatives from key House committees, they may well be disinclined to support Boehner's holdout position much longer.

The problem Rand Paul has with the establishment Republican position is that it is a tax hike too. "Let's don't be the party of just almost as high taxes," he says and he isn't the only one who noticed.

To get back to a fiscal balance, tax revenues have to be raised and spending has to be cut. Republicans as much as Democrats own the idea that we can paper over that truth with borrowed money. The idea that you can force big spending cuts by running up big debts doesn't work and is recklessly irresponsible. Setting the taxes at the level to support the spending just might work, as then the public will feel the full cost of the spending.

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