Democrats Must Be Adults as GOP Redefines 'Tax Increase'

Republicans says any revenue increase is off the table, holding to the absurd notion that taxes can never go up; they can only go down.

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OK, this isn’t exactly asking what the meaning of “is,” “is,” but it is close.

What is a tax increase? Is it letting a previous, temporary tax cut expire and go back to the earlier tax? Is it the “closing of a loophole” to remove a favorable tax break put in place for a specific industry? Is it the imposition of a fee or the increase in a fee? Is it really anything that results in an increase in revenue?

[See editorial cartoons on the national budget and deficit.]

We can go on and on here, but what we are really talking about is not an esoteric debate. If you listen to Republicans right now, particularly Rep. Eric Cantor, who picked up his marbles and went home from White House negotiations, you would think that everything is a “tax increase.”

The sad aspect of the current debate is that what many Republicans are espousing is that added revenue should be “off the table.” This is clearly a nonstarter for truly solving our problems. [Check out a roundup of GOP political cartoons.]

It also is inflexible and holds to the absurd notion that taxes can never go up; they can only go down. That sort of reminds me of: Housing prices can only go up; they don’t go down! Hmmm…

Democrats, to be honest, have to be the responsible party when it comes to providing balance to the cuts/revenue equation. They need not fear the boogeyman crying “tax raiser!”

Americans, by large majorities, understand that the richest 2 percent of their fellow citizens have seen rapid and large increases in their wealth of late, and asking them to pay their fair share is a no brainer. Americans understand that providing huge tax breaks to oil companies already making huge profits makes no sense. Americans understand that rewarding companies for parking their profits overseas or exporting jobs is untenable, and such behavior should not entitle them to special tax “incentives.” [Vote now: Will there be a debt ceiling deal?]

In short, most Americans know that adequate revenue is part of the critical balance that will create and keep jobs as well as attack our debt problem. It is not about eviscerating government and tearing apart our social fabric. Republicans as conservative as Ronald Reagan have known the meaning of a tax increase and have not hesitated to use it.

  • Check out a roundup of GOP political cartoons.
  • Vote now: Will there be a debt ceiling deal?
  • See editorial cartoons on the national budget and deficit.