If GOP isn’t ruling out tax hikes, who is? 

An article in The Hill Saturday quotes two Republicans members of the White House’s Fiscal Responsibility Commission who say they haven’t ruled out a tax hike to deal with the nation’s unsustainable – and growing – debt.

The recently passed health care bill is just the latest in a series of unfunded federal mandates caused by overspending and overpromising entitlement benefits. Raising taxes will not fix the basic problem, only allow current members of Congress to escape the consequences of their ruinous behavior.

The commission, which will be chaired by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson, has until Dec. 1 to come up with recommendations to defuse the ticking fiscal time bomb. But House Minority Leader John Boehner characterized it as “a partisan Washington exercise rigged to impose massive tax increases and pass the buck on tough choices.”

At least two conservative Republicans on the commission seem to be bearing out Boehner’s dire prediction. Walter Alarkon quoted Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) as saying, “Everything is on the table.”

“Everything” presumably includes the same tax-and-spend policies that brought the country to the verge of bankruptcy. Why would the process that caused the problem be considered as a solution?

“I will sit down with anybody at anytime to discuss anything to see if there is any common ground,” said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex.

“Anything” presumably includes violating the cardinal economic rule that if you want economic growth, you don’t enact economy-stifling taxes, especially during a job-killing recession that has thrown more than 10 million of Americans out of work. Why would “anybody” with even a rudimentary understanding of economics seriously propose such a thing?

Let’s hope Coburn and Hensarling are simply playing their cards close to the vest instead of signaling their complete capitulation on the subject of a tax increase beforehand. Democrats on the commission, including former SEIU chief Andy Stern, cannot be counted on to hold the line on taxes. If the Republicans don’t, nobody will.

Tax Freedom Day was April 9th , the 99th day of 2010. If the GOP won’t rule out another tax increase as a matter of principle, the days Americans spend in indentured servitude to Uncle Sam may soon be in the triple digits.

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