Tax Rascal

In Wake of Super Committee Collapse, is a Sea Change in store for the GOP?

Categories: Economy, Featured, Politics, Tax Policy
In Wake of Super Committee Collapse, is a Sea Change in store for the GOP?

Former Senator Judd Gregg articulates an evolving Republican position on debt and taxes

As Tax Rascal predicted, the super committee’s negotiations failed. After months of dramatic, closed-door democracy, the panel of twelve congressmen came up empty handed.

No one was surprised.

Still, it may not have been all in vain. Of notable significance, not to say a foreshadowing of a potential sea change in Republican fiscal policy, was republican senators Toomey and Hensarling’s willingness to “raise revenue” – aka raise taxes…

And alarm bells of change are now sounding from other corners too.

Judd Gregg, a former Republican governor and senator who served as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee from 2005 to 2007, has been articulating an evolving GOP position on debt and taxes in his column for The Hill.

One of the main thrusts is a focus on efficiency and a fatigue with the current state of politics in America. From his latest column:

It is reasonably clear that the American people are tired of a Congress that does not work and a president who does not lead. They expect more from the people they elect. Even in Italy, the governing class seems to have gotten the message that it is time to act and that the march toward large debt through expanded and unaffordable government is not politically acceptable. It is difficult to believe we might need to turn to the Italians for ideas on how to govern, but without presidential leadership we seem to have come to that point.

True, potshots at President Obama are prominent. But also implicit in Gregg’s critique of Congress is displeasure with the obstructionist tactics of Boehner and his conservative cohorts.

In an earlier piece a few weeks ago he took on the reigning Republican orthodoxy head on:

In the area of political fraud…we find groups like Americans for Tax Reform. This group needs to be given a scarlet “A” for disingenuous and deceptive practices in pursuit of contributions from unsuspecting but sincere Americans.

It takes the position that the fiscal problems of our country can be cured with no revenue increases of any type at any time. Its position is that a tax code that is dysfunctional, counterproductive, internationally uncompetitive and incomprehensible is sacrosanct.

This position is taken in the name of reducing taxes when in fact it is little more than a stalking horse for the protection of tax breaks and special interest deductions inserted into the code over the years through effective lobbying by the narrow groups who benefit from these tax benefits. The effect of this is to retard the economy and the government with a code that is a burden to economic growth and reasonable and efficient revenue production.

Harsh words, considering only a few months ago the GOP seemed to be marching in lockstep to the drumbeat of the Norquist agenda. Then again, it may have something to do with the fact that Gregg has no Tea Party constituents to appease.

Gregg is clearly not intent on articulating a new Republican platform, but he may be the harbinger of an important shift in party values, especially as a resident of the influential-in-an-election-year state of New Hampshire.


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