Five Of Boehner's Six "Fiscal Experts" Agree: Deficit Reduction Requires Revenue Increases

September 26, 2011 5:37 pm ET — Jamison Foser

House Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) office has inadvertently demonstrated that the Republican position that deficits should be reduced via spending cuts alone is hopelessly out of touch with both mathematical reality and the vast majority of expert opinion. 

Rep. John Boehner

Boehner's office identified six "fiscal experts" who supposedly say the "president's plan would do more harm than good." If you know how Boehner's office does things, you've probably already guessed that this is a transparently dishonest summary of the views of the quoted experts. President Bill Clinton, for example, has supported Obama's plans — he certainly hasn't said they'd "do more harm than good." Indeed, only one of the six quotes presented by Boehner's office could reasonably be paraphrased as saying Obama's proposals would "do more harm than good." 

While five of the six "fiscal experts" cited by Boehner's office didn't actually say what Boehner's staff claims they said, they have said that deficit reduction will require revenue increases, in direct contradiction of GOP dogma. And they've also done so in blunt language that leaves no doubt about the Republicans' irresponsibility. 

Former Government Accountability Office head David Walker, for example, has said: "Anybody that passed basic math would have known that you cannot end up dealing with our structural problems in our deficits without having more revenues." Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Budget has noted, "You can not get to any reasonable goal without new revenues," and "Policies that exempt tax cuts from budget constraints are not only economically dangerous, they are cowardly." Former CBO director Rudolph Penner says the problem "cannot be entirely solved on either the tax or spending side of the budget," and "If one wanted to balance the budget without any increase in tax burdens, there would have to be draconian cuts in Social Security, Medicare and other programs." And Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition thinks deficit reduction will require spending cuts and revenue increases, adding, "It's long past time for partisan purists in Washington to recognize that." 

Walker, MacGuineas, Penner and Bixby are four of the six "fiscal experts" cited by Boehner's office. And, according to these fiscal experts, the Republican position on deficit reduction would fail "basic math," is "cowardly," and would require "draconian cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and other programs." 

Then there's Bill Clinton. Boehner's office deserves some credit for identifying Clinton as a "fiscal expert," but they lied about his position. He favors proposals to raise taxes on the super-rich, calling them "common sense," and certainly doesn't say President Obama's proposals would do more harm than good. The only "fiscal expert" cited by Boehner's office who is actually quoted saying anything like that is Pamela Villarreal, an obscure staffer at the far-right National Center for Policy Analysis

In short, five of the six "fiscal experts" in question don't say what Boehner's office claims they say — but they do say the Republican position on deficit reduction is absurd. And remember: I didn't chose these experts, Boehner's office did.