CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research


En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Washington Post Invents Flexibility for Stubborn Republicans

Washington Post Invents Flexibility for Stubborn Republicans

Friday, 09 November 2012 09:24

The voters might have told the Republicans that they would have to compromise on their position on taxes, but the Washington Post told them that they don't. The paper used a news article to imply that congressional Republicans are showing flexibility when they are just repeating the same position they have been putting forward for years. The article told readers:

"chastened Republican leaders have lined up behind Boehner to offer a compromise on taxes, until now a major stumbling block."

Actually the Republicans are not offering a compromise, they are offering the same position that they offered before and that Governor Romney put forward in his presidential campaign. They are proposing to eliminate some loopholes in exchange for a reduction in tax rates. If the Washington Post is successful in convincing the public that this longstanding Republican position is a compromise, then there will be no need for them to offer a real compromise. 

Comments (8)Add Comment
written by jhm, November 09, 2012 9:33
Even if the GOPers' rhetoric represented an offer or a compromise (it doesn't), there is not one reason to assume that if this were agreed to that they wouldn't adopt a new position, as has been invariably been their reaction previously.
worked in 1986
written by pete, November 09, 2012 10:49
When Ted Kennedy voted to lower the top rate from 50% to 28% and raise the bottom rate from 11% to 15%. Turbo Tax will fight this simplification...we might go back to filing our own taxes!
Speaker Boehner: NO to Increased Tax Rates
written by Robert Salzberg, November 09, 2012 2:07
From Speaker Boehner's website from the most recent post:

Speaker Boehner: "On Wednesday, I outlined a responsible path forward to avert the fiscal cliff without raising tax rates."

My understanding is that the Republicans are willing to accept tax increases only as a result of tax cuts growing the economy or Austerity bringing back the 'confidence fairy'/growth and/or comprehensive tax reform which they claim will also grow the economy.
written by bmz, November 10, 2012 8:02
Just about every Republican politician alleges that: "we do not have a taxing problem, we have a spending problem;" but this is a lie. Everyone knows that Ronald Reagan reduced income taxes (more than one half for the wealthy); what is less commonly understood is that he extensively offset this by raising payroll taxes(more than double for most self-employed). Today, most American families pay more in payroll taxes than they do in income taxes. Between 1946 and 1981, income taxes averaged 12%(+/-1%) of normalized GDP. Reagan reduced income taxes to near 9%. Clinton increased them back to 12%; and Bush/Obama reduced them again to 9 %(and below). However, on budget expenses have remained 12%(+/-1%) of normalized GDP throughout. The deficit in income taxes has been financed by borrowing, largely from the Social Security trust fund. When Clinton raised income taxes back to 12%, this eliminated the on budget deficit. The CBO projected that this, plus the Social Security and Medicare surpluses, was enough to pay off the entire US debt before the Social Security/Medicare trust funds would have to be amortized for beneficiary payments, all without having to raise taxes to pay for the amortization of those trust funds. Like Reagan before him, Bush took those excess payroll tax receipts and gave them “back” as income tax reductions, heavily weighted to the wealthy–who didn’t create those surpluses in the first place. By doing this, Bush guaranteed that income taxes would have to be raised in order to amortize the trust funds. The failure to do so simply permits the 1% to steal the money contributed by workers for their retirement. Everything about not raising taxes or limiting expenses, is about stealing the 99%'s money. The national debt has been caused primarily by income taxes which were reduced far below their historic 12%(+/-1%), not by on budget expenses, which have remained at their historic 12%(+/-1%) throughout. These taxing games have transferred $ trillions from the 99%'s payroll taxes to subsidize income taxes.
Post Editorial Belies True Colors of Its Newsprint?
written by Babeuf, November 10, 2012 10:44
Since the 1980 Carter loss to Reagan I have wondered why the Post might support a candidate in its editorial page as it did Carte,r if I recall, and Obama this year, while the same editors assure he is tarred beyond salvage on the news pages. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is going on? Please don't tell me that the editors don't influence the news pages without some supportive information, I am not that incredulous after 65 years of life and death in Washington.
it's a local paper
written by fairleft, November 11, 2012 12:44
Babeuf, in some matters the Washington Post is simply a local paper. I can't imagine it telling the town of Washington DC not to vote for Barack Obama, who is a mega-hero (no matter how bad he is for them) for African Americans. Anyway, in the cited editorial the Post is just offering cover for Obama, for when he accepts the Republican 'compromise' and starts attacking the 'recalcitrant' authentic Democrats who do not. This President very much is part of the Reagan legacy and wants to do the Gipper one better. Wow, cutting Social Security! A longtime anti-FDR, Reaganite dream finally coming true ...
Are rich businessmen really any better at making business investments?
written by Ben, November 11, 2012 7:20
Steven Pearlstein in today's Post: "It turns out businessmen are even worse at making political investments than politicians are in making business investments."

The evidence of the last 15 years suggest that businessmen and the rich are not much better at making business investments than political investments -- stock bubble, housing bubble, addiction to excessive leverage, etc. The private sector has completely messed up in its principal purpose -- the productive and efficient allocation of our society's resources. Maybe these guys really don't know what they are doing in any arena.
Phony Fiscal Conservatives
written by FoonTheElder, November 13, 2012 10:02
The phony fiscal conservatives never met a deficit they didn't like, just as long as it was spent on big corporate welfare and tax cuts for their political supporters.

Their idea of compromise has always been for someone else to compromise, not them.

What they really are after is the continuation of their class war against working Americans and the retired, not the deficit.

Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.


Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613

About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.