Over the holiday weekend, conservative columnist for the New York Times David Brooks issued a rebuttal of current Republican brinkmanship by writing that cutting-spending while also closing tax loopholes is a “no-brainer” while also expressing doubts that the Republican party is even up to the task of serious governance.
But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.
Aside from the fact that David Brooks was struck by an epiphany and arrived at this conclusion a few years or perhaps even a decade late, he is absolutely correct.
Republican budget wizard Paul Ryan responded to David Brooks today and, in an attempt to explain the philosophy behind Republican Tax-Cut Magic, dug the hole a little bit deeper.
RYAN: What happens if you do what he’s saying, is then you can’t lower tax rates. So it does affect marginal tax rates. In order to lower marginal tax rates, you have to take away those loopholes so you can lower those tax rates. If you want to do what we call being revenue neutral … If you take a deal like that, you’re necessarily requiring tax rates to be higher for everybody. You need lower tax rates by going after tax loopholes. If you take away the tax loopholes without lowering tax rates, then you deny Congress the ability to lower everybody’s tax rates and you keep people’s tax rates high.
Revenue neutral? What the fuck does that mean?!
For those who were unable to follow along — Paul Ryan is saying that the only way they would agree to close tax loopholes, and by extension raise revenue, is by offsetting the new revenue with additional tax cuts to cancel the revenue out. This is what he calls “revenue neutral.” Meaning you simply end up back where you started.
If you thought the GOP’s nonsensical demand that all legislation be “deficit neutral” would never be eclipsed in its absurdity, consider the implications of “revenue neutral.”