Boehner Caving on Tax Hikes?

Speaker John Boehner is taking a lot of heat for signalling to the debt reduction Supercommittee (along with a few dozen House Republicans) that “tax revenues” are on the table. According to CBS News, he did say that, but then there’s this:

Boehner insisted that Republicans would only compromise on tax revenue if Democrats were willing to take significant and painful steps to shore up Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. “Without real reform on the entitlement side, I don’t know how you put any revenue on the table.”

He said any new tax revenue would not come from raising rates but from overhauling the tax code, sweeping out loopholes and deductions in order to reduce individual and corporate rates.

“I do think that our efforts to have a flatter, fairer tax system, with our targets being 25 percent top rates for corporations, 25 percent top rates for individuals, is achievable. That means you clean out all the garbage. I think it’s very important that it get done,” Boehner said — either by the supercommittee or by the relevant Congressional committees over the next year.

After meeting almost every day for weeks, the supercommittee has appeared stalled in recent days, as members huddle with their respective party leaders to determine their next move. “Expectations for the success of the Supercommittee are low,” said a pessimistic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) earlier this week.

But today, Boehner expressed confidence the group would meet its goal of $1.2 trillion in debt reduction.

“I didn’t agree to set this thing up with any idea that it wouldn’t succeed,” he said. “And I’ve been clear with everyone through this process that we have to meet the goal. I’d love to exceed the goal. But we have to meet the goal and I’m going to put every effort in to make sure that we do.”

So what’s holding up the talks? “It’s the same conversation that’s been going on all year,” Boehner said. “They want more revenue than what we’re willing to give, and they’re not willing to do as much entitlement reform as we’d like to do.” He indicated that he has been heavily involved in the minutiae of debt negotiations. “There’s all kinds of discussions and permutations and models. I’ve seen more models than I can count about how you can do this. A lot of possibilities.”

Read the whole thing and then make up your own mind. I’m all for a simplified tax code, but I doubt the Democrats will go for it. Having Democrats on a debt reduction committee is kind of like an oxymoron. Until they lose the White House and the Senate don’t expect anything positive to happen. Even then, it’s going to take a lot of courage to make things right, or even get us heading in the right direction.

National Review has more.

Update: Memeorandum has a thread and links.