Even the GOP Can't Be This Stupid: The Revenue Edition

The GOP has officially entered a self-parody feedback loop. Case in point, House Minority leader Rep. Boehner's spokescritter on Obama's tax reform commission (italics mine):

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) offered tepid support for the concept of tax reform but was leery of what he sees as a chance for more tax increases.

"Obviously, the tax code needs reform, but I hope that when the administration talks about generating more revenue that isn't code for raising taxes," Boehner spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier said.

The people who collect all of the taxes? They're called the Internal Revenue Service.

Ferrier has to be a plant. No one is that stupid. Nobody.

And how did we reach the point where burbling these inanities is so commonplace that they go unremarked?

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There is one sort of explanation that might suffice to excuse for huh???

If the tax rates remain the same while the reforms reduce the possibility of cheating, more revenues will be gained.

.. oh, yeah, I meant to say that

By natural cynic (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

She gets her wish. The phrase 'generating more revenue' isn't code for raising taxes: it's plan language for generating more revenue.

Our sources of revenue are taxes, fees, and fines. We can do this all without raising taxes: just make the filthy rich pay exorbitant fees to protect them from their victims, and fine the the rich for having shirked their civic duty for the last half century.

In Repo World the government raises revenue by cutting taxes (it's called "supply side economics"). Of course in the real world it doesn't work that way and Reagan and Bush jr. generated huge deficits by cutting taxes but that doesn't lessen the GOP's belief in the principle.

Well, if they really want it that way ...

Time to dust off some Saint Ronnie quotations about cutting tax loopholes then, eh? No need to raise marginal rates in that case; the tax expenditures for preferences at the high end of the income scale dwarf the amount that could reasonably be raised by rate increases with the current preferences.

Watch how fast both sides of the aisle race to head that one off.

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

Ms. Ferrier apparently believes that the Laffer Curve is both true* and relevant to the present economic situation. Lots of Republicans believe this in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary. This belief dates to pre-Reagan (and pre-Laffer) times: apparently Republicans used the same argument in the 1920s to reduce the top income tax rate to 25%.

*The assumption that revenues will decrease to zero if tax rates are raised to 100%, although untested, is reasonable, and it follows from that assumption that there is a tax rate which maximizes revenue. The problem is that adherents of the Laffer curve assert, without evidence, that we are on the part of the curve where raising tax rates will reduce revenue. (There are other problems, too, but that is the relevant problem to this discussion.)

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 30 Mar 2009 #permalink

To be fair (I know, it's hard) raising revenue and raising taxes (i.e., the tax rate) are not precisely the same. The amount of revenue raised depends on the rate and also the amount of income available to be taxed. Cutting loopholes, especially for corporations, would raise revenues without changing rates. Monetary policy that generated wage inflation would raise revenue.