Since taking control of the House earlier this year, Republicans have placed spending cuts and debt reduction at the top of their agenda. So why won't they accept Democrats' "astonishing concession" of trillions of dollars in cuts in exchange for Republicans approving comparatively tiny tax increases? "If the Republican Party were a normal party," says conservative columnist David Brooks at The New York Times, "it would take advantage of this amazing moment." The Dems' offer is part of negotiations to raise the nation's $14 trillion debt ceiling (without an increase to the federal government's borrowing limit, the U.S. will default on its debts in early August), and presents the GOP with such a massive victory that accepting the deal ought to be "the mother of all no-brainers," Brooks says. And yet, doctrinaire conservatives are balking, saying they won't OK tax incrases of any kind. Are Republicans being too obstinate?
Yes. This is "the deal of the century": The Democrats' offer grants Republicans nearly everything they asked for, says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly. Thanks to their "extremism and inflexibility," Republicans have "already won." The party dictated the direction of the debate, "set the terms" of discussions, and essentially dominated the bargaining. In turn, "Democrats have conceded away almost everything." But today's "radicalized" Republicans still won't deal.
"What a 'normal' GOP might do"
No. Republicans are being rational: Brooks' logic is flawed, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Raising taxes in any way would "keep right on creating deficits and hiking the national debt." Republicans are simply trying to prevent this. The Democrats' request for tax increases would only "allow them to paper over the acute crisis," which would only intensify the "chronic disintegration of American fiscal standing." If there's any resistance to a debt-reduction compromise on the side of the GOP, it's because "Democrats aren’t serious about solving the problem."
"Brooks: Those tax-hike blocking Republicans are just indecent"
Either way, it's bad politics: Even if Republicans successfully hold out for even more cuts, it would be a political disaster, says Megan McArdle at The Atlantic. By and large, Americans don't support across-the-board cuts, especially on popular entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. If Republicans got their "all-cuts deal," look out for "an angry nation" that votes Republicans out of office in favor of Democrats who would "happily "restore" the programs that "brutal" Republicans tried to "gut" with "draconian" cuts." By not compromising, Republicans aren't just leading the nation to financial crisis, but dooming their own party with "infantile" political logic.
"Why can't the GOP get to yes?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Pope Francis' American problem
- 10 things you need to know today: December 19, 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 12 holiday gifts for the hardest-to-shop-for people on your list
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
Subscribe to the Week