There's an enormous fight looming at the end of the year over taxes and revenue, when all of the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire, just as major spending cuts from the debt-ceiling agreement are set to begin. The only thing both sides agree on is that this will be an enormous mess.
House Republicans, meanwhile, want to make a one thing clear before discussions can even begin in earnest.
House Republicans say they have no plans to pay for the extension of the Bush-era tax rates, a move that could erase the deficit reduction they have achieved since winning their majority in the chamber in 2010. [...][M]oving to extend the Bush tax rates without offsetting spending cuts or revenue increases could leave the GOP vulnerable to attacks on the deficit, particularly for a party that has spent years accusing Democrats of bankrupting federal coffers and used their House majority to insist on controlling the exploding debt.
This is probably a convenient time for a big-picture fact: the Republican Party is an anti-tax, anti-government party, not the party of fiscal responsibility.
Recent history doesn't leave any room for doubt. GOP officials spent the last decade putting two major tax cuts, two wars, and Medicare expansion on the nation's credit card. Republicans not only failed to pay for their agenda, they didn't even try.
All of a sudden, in January 2009, these identical Republicans decided the single most important priority in the nation is reducing the debt they'd just spent eight years increasing by trillions of dollars. By now, the rhetoric should be familiar -- we're facing a "debt crisis" that will crush our children, bankrupt our government, and quite possibly destroy civilization.
And how do we know they don't mean it? Because they want all of the Bush tax cuts left intact, at a cost of trillions of dollars over the next decade, and the same Republicans in a faux panic over the debt don't have the slightest interest in paying for these tax breaks.
It's almost impressive that GOP officials still talk about fiscal restraint with a straight face. It's even more impressive that Republicans have convinced the political establishment to take them seriously on debt reduction.