GOP Obstinacy Doomed the Super Committee

Democrats hoped to meet in the middle, but the GOP had no plans to budge, Eugene Robinson writes in his Washington Post column.

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House Speaker John Boehner (Getty Images)

In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson writes that the congressional super committee was doomed from the start because Democrats started out in the middle, while Republicans started out hiding all of their marbles.

... As usual, the two parties began with vastly different ideas of what it means to negotiate. Democrats envisioned meeting somewhere in the middle, while Republicans anticipated not moving an inch. This isn’t just my spin, it’s a matter of public record: Before the 12-member supercommittee ever met, House Speaker John Boehner warned that they had better not agree to any new tax revenue.

Think about this for a minute. The whole point of the subcommittee exercise was to begin reducing the ballooning national debt, now more than $15 trillion. Closing such a big gap with spending cuts is possible only in the parallel universe inhabited by GOP ideologues, a place where the laws of arithmetic do not apply.

Here in the real world -- where tax receipts as a percentage of gross domestic product are lower than they’ve been since 1950 -- it’s ridiculous to think of solving the long-term debt problem without substantial new revenue. Yet the position taken by Republicans in Congress is that tax rates can go only down, never up. To uphold this absolutist principle, they have gone so far as to threaten to send the U.S. Treasury into default.

Read Eugene Robinson's entire column at the Washington Post.

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