John Boehner on Friday, July 22
We had an agreement on a revenue number. A revenue number that we thought we could reach based on a flatter tax code with lower rates and a broader base. That would produce more economic growth, more employees and more taxpayers. And a tax system that was more efficient in collecting the taxes that were due the federal government. And let me just say that the White House moved the goalpost. There was an agreement, some additional revenues, until yesterday when the president demanded $400 billion more which was going to be nothing more than a tax increase on the American people.
John Boehner on Sunday, July 24:
Last Sunday there I thought there was an agreement of $800 billion of new revenue coming from a flatter, fairer tax system that would get our economy moving again, employ more Americans, and bring more revenue to the federal government. And I believed that we could get there. On Tuesday, the president said they needed more revenue. Mr. Cantor and I told the president no. Wednesday they said they needed more revenue. We said no. Thursday, we need more revenue. We said no. Friday afternoon, when the president called me and demanded $400 billion in more revenue, there's no way you can get that out of tax reform other than raising taxes on the American people.
So on Friday, John Boehner claimed he had an agreement on revenue up until it fell apart on Thursday, when the White House asked him for $400 billion more in revenue. Then, on Sunday, he claimed the agreement had fallen apart on Tuesday, and that President Obama hadn't specifically demanded $400 billion until Friday.
So the question is which John Boehner to believe. The answer is probably neither. And here's a clue as to why, also from Sunday:
I thought we could get new revenues out of a growing economy that had more Americans working, more Americans paying taxes, and the fact that a fairer, flatter tax code means that we would have had a more efficient system of people understanding what their tax obligations were and our ability to collect what was due.
Between the two, I believe that we could accomplish $800 billion without raising taxes.
That's basically what he said on Friday as well, but this time he explicitly said none of the $800 billion in revenue he had "agreed" to raise would have come from higher taxes. If you can't figure out how in the world that makes sense, you're not alone.
Making it harder for people to skip out on taxes they owes makes sense, but making people do what they should be doing anyway hardly counts as asking for "shared sacrifice." And the notion that revenue coming from economic growth should count towards the $800 billion number is absurd. So unless he's lying about that to protect himself with his Republican base, if John Boehner ever agreed to $800 billion in revenue, he'd done so in name only. Certainly, no objective observer could honestly say that what he described constitutes a serious revenue plan.