Brian Beutler has the latest on the Super Committee machinations:
Super Committee Republicans are floating a trial balloon that would produce new tax revenue, in apparent contravention of Grover Norquist’s taxpayer protection pledge, according to Wall Street Journal editorialist Stephen Moore.
But as Moore explains that the offer has a catch:
One positive development on taxes taking shape is a deal that could include limiting tax deductions, perhaps by capping write-offs on charities, state and local taxes, and mortgage interest payments as a percentage of each tax filer’s gross income. That idea was introduced on these pages by Harvard economist Martin Feldstein.
In exchange, Democrats would agree to make the Bush income-tax cuts permanent. This would mean preventing top rates from going to 42% from 35% today, and keeping the capital gains and dividend tax rate at 15%, as opposed to plans to raise them to 23.8% or higher after 2013.
Moore is a good indicator if the anti-tax fetishists are prepared to share in the “sacrifice” by allowing some revenue in the form of “tax reform.” But that's not enough, of course. They're mulling over whether to bite that bullet and allow a few symbolic loopholes to be temporarily closed in exchange for the Democrats agreeing to destroy everything they've built over the past 60 years and now, permanently extending the Bush tax cuts. It's a tough pill for them to swallow but if they do I'm sure we can look forward to celebrating that the Democrats “won.”
If Moore is offering this up I suspect it's a fairly good indication that Grover may be playing.
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These guys do have guts. The Dems made “revenue” the Holy Grail and made it clear they were willing to sell their souls to get it. They defined the deal as “shared sacrifice” even though the only people who would feel any pain are their own voters and their kids and grandparents. And the GOP is squeezing them for more —- now they want the Bush tax cuts off the table too. You have got to give them credit for chutzpah.
Again, had the Democrats extended the Bush tax cuts only on the middle class when they had a majority and a mandate in 2009, they would be in a very different position today. Spoiled, curdled spilled milk …
Update: This piece by Thomas Ferguson is only tangentially related, but it's worth reading anyway since it does mention this travesty going on in DC, even as Occupy grows around the nation. He's talking sense. A lot of sense.