There are still optimists in Washington. Many of them probably lean on the old adage attributed (probably wrongly) to Winston Churchill about “…after all of the other possibilities.” But we are running out of time, so we had better begin to discard those other possibilities at a faster rate.
One of the “other possibilities” would be the President’s insistence on increasing tax rates in the highest brackets of the income tax schedule. The President isn’t alone in this focus on tax rates; Nate Silver of the New York Times, who earned plaudits for the accuracy of his analysis of the presidential race this year, weighed in along the same lines on a rumored congressional proposal.
Over the last 72 hours, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has done a messaging tap dance. First he made comments about the political behavior of former President Ronald Reagan and also his own father, former President George H.W. Bush. But then Governor Bush made a more-current substantive statement: that he would accept a deficit-reduction deal that included ten dollars of spending cuts for every one dollar of tax increases.
For that, he was immediately castigated by members of his own party. Among them, Republican activist Grover Norquist criticized Governor Bush by saying that “…he thinks he’s sophisticated by saying that he’d take a 10:1 promise. He doesn’t understand — he’s just agreed to walk down the same alley his dad did with the same gang. And he thinks he’s smart. You walk down that alley, you don’t come out. You certainly don’t come out with 2:1 or 10:1.” Norquist’s organization, Americans for Tax Reform, posted a statement saying that “When bipartisan deals are struck promising to cut spending and raise taxes, the spending cuts don’t materialize but the tax hikes do.”