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E.J. Takes On The Knicker-Twisters

Memo to the Washington Post news desk: Please read E.J. Dionne's excellent column today, which explains why the Republicans' $300 billion tax increase is really a tax cut. Also read my esteemed predecessor Jon Chait on the subject way back in January. Also listen to Alan Greenspan--you like Alan Greenspan, right?--in April. Also read your own Ezra Klein, who seems now to be backing away from the Post's super committee knicker-twister caucus.

Actually, the Post has finally figured out a way to acknowledge the multi-trillion tax cut inherent in extending the Bush tax rates, which Republicans are insisting on as the price of admission to their $300 billion tax increase. Blame it on the Democrats! A new compromise offered by the Democrats, wherein they lower their revenue demands from $900 billion to $400 billion, is "a ruse," the Post allows Republicans to explain without meaningful contradiction, because the Democrats assume maintaining at least $800 billion of the scheduled tax increase due to the Bush tax cuts' expiration. (Presumably they assume maintaining everything except the tax cut for families earning more than $250,000, per Obama's wishes.) The Republicans might also point out that the Democrats assume that the sky will continue to be blue, that water will continue to be wet, and that north won't suddenly become south. A baseline that assumes blocking cancellation of the Bush tax cuts assumes trillions of dollars in tax cuts. Why would the Democrats possibly want to embrace that in a proposal aimed at, um, cutting the deficit?