The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
GOP Should Take Tax Increase/Entitlement Reform Swap

GOP contrarians like Bob Corker argue that House Republicans should agree to higher taxes on the wealthy, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Sen. Corker said that if the GOP grants Mr. Obama the tax increase, they can then use the looming vote on raising the debt ceiling to force cuts to entitlement programs. Mr. Corker did not specify what entitlements he was referring to. But Republicans have been talking about cuts to Medicare, including raising the age when retirees can enroll in the health care program. Others have been talking about adjustments to Social Security to curb costs of that program. . . .

“Republicans know that they have the debt ceiling coming up right around the corner,” Sen. Corker said. “The leverage is going to shift to our side. We are going to do the same thing we did last time; if the president wants to raise the level by two trillion, we get two trillion in spending reductions.”

Corker and other like-minded Republicans have the right idea here. Higher taxes pale in comparison to the looming breakdown of our entitlement programs, all of which will eventually run out of money unless changes are made. If the GOP needs to compromise on taxes to get the ball rolling on entitlement reform, so be it.

Published on December 10, 2012 6:00 pm