Skip to main content

A veto threat from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at today's daily briefing ... but it comes with a caveat:
If it fails either to produce something or if Congress fails to act on it, you can be sure that the President will honor his promise to veto any legislation that would extend the Bush high-income tax cuts beyond 2012, which would, of course, create nearly $1 trillion in revenue raisers when that happens.

The "it" in question is the Super Congress that will be created by the debt limit deal should it make its way out of the House and Senate. And if the Super Congress proposes tax reform that changes rates, it would obviously render the Bush tax cuts (and the threat to veto them) moot—and that's something the White House thinks would be "a good thing":

The only -- at the marginal rate level, at the income tax level, the only rates that the President has sought to return to the levels of the Clinton administration, which, by the way, was a period of the longest sustained expansion -- economic expansion in postwar American history, where 23 million jobs were created, and where rich people did very well, indeed, which is a good thing, those rates prevailed.

He thinks we should return to those rates as part of a process where everyone shares in the sacrifice necessary to get our deficits and debt under control. 

Now, we may not get there because tax reform is a goal of his as well.  And it is a goal shared by a lot of Republicans.  And if the committee can produce tax reform that raises revenues and contributes to deficit reduction but simplifies the tax code, that would also be a good thing.  But it will not result in -- and we certainly -- we certainly do not want it to result in putting added burdens on average Americans.  This President’s approach has been just the opposite.

So President Obama wants the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire. But that might not happen because of tax reform. And that "would also be a good thing" as long as tax reform increases revenue and doesn't "result in putting added burdens on average Americans."

In theory, that's a fine position. Basically, it says let's do tax reform that raises as much revenue as we'd raise by expiring the Bush high-income tax cuts, but let's make sure that ordinary Americans don't pay any more than they would otherwise have paid.

The problem, of course, is that we've heard this all before. In April, President Obama proposed using tax reform to raise revenue above and beyond the amount of revenue that would be raised by expiring the Bush high-income tax cuts. Now, the goalposts have been moved once again, and the Super Congress hasn't even been passed into law.

By the time it starts getting serious, you can bet your bottom dollar that the goalposts will move again: there'll be tax reform, and the CBO might even say it yields a modest bit of revenue thanks to dynamic scoring or some other budget math, but the real goal will be to take the Bush tax cuts off the table in the 2012 election and beyond. So yeah, the Bush tax cuts are here to stay, in substance if not in name.

Because revenue doesn't have anything to do with budget deficits. And we wouldn't want to have an election fought over an actual issue of substance, would we?

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 01:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site