Boehner: Tax hikes are “off the table”

posted at 10:13 am on May 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Today’s Matt Lauer discusses Pakistan with Speaker John Boehner to start off this Today interview, but the talk quickly turns to the budget. Lauer asks the depressingly silly question of whether the post-Osama operation “unity” will disappear in the upcoming debate over the budget, a question which Boehner wisely ignores. Lauer then says that the debate over the debt ceiling will make the fight over the FY2011 budget look like “child’s play,” to which Boehner agrees. This is the main event in fiscal policy, and it will take a titanic struggle to find our way through it. It’s an opportunity to finally address the decades-long habit of spending more than we have, and we cannot put off that debate any longer.

How much room will Boehner have in negotiating? Declaring himself “a regular guy with a big job,” Boehner declares tax hikes “off the table.” Lauer tries offering a misleading statistic to force Boehner to defend the Bush tax cuts, using unemployment numbers from June 2001 and comparing them to today’s rates. The tax cuts to which Democrats object passed in 2003, not 2001 (which lowered the top rate to its current 35% and reduced capital-gains tax rates), and unemployment at the time had gone into the 6% range. It resulted in an explosion of job growth that only ended in 2008 with the housing bubble’s collapse.

Boehner has declared tax hikes “off the table,” but says everything else will be up for discussion — everything else necessarily being spending cuts, especially in entitlements.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Update: My apologies for the headline error. I was analyzing the Bush tax cuts when I wrote it. Boehner put tax hikes off the table, not tax cuts.


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Wait

Are tax hikes or tax cuts off the table, Edward?!

:P

blatantblue on May 10, 2011 at 10:16 AM

You realize the headline says “tax CUTS” not “tax hikes” right?

Zaggs on May 10, 2011 at 10:16 AM

So, that headline is either an editing error or a Freudian slip. Which?

DaydreamBeliever on May 10, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Cuts or hikes?

Troika37 on May 10, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Ed, headline says cuts are off the table.

dogsoldier on May 10, 2011 at 10:17 AM

I’m sure hoping it’s a typo

rhombus on May 10, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Last time the Democrats claimed cuts of $33 billion, but the CBO finally scored it as $0.24 billion, so let’s start strong with tax cuts that actually cut.

J_Crater on May 10, 2011 at 10:18 AM

You need to change the headline because used cuts instead of hikes.

JeffinSac on May 10, 2011 at 10:18 AM

blatantblue on May 10, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Too much vino for Ed, eh?

Patrick S on May 10, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Well, it certainly got me to click on the headline to read the story, lol.

Fallon on May 10, 2011 at 10:20 AM

If Lauer bends over, I’ll show him where his ‘Obama unity’ is.

GarandFan on May 10, 2011 at 10:20 AM

That headline scared me for a second.

steebo77 on May 10, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Well, with Obama in office….tax cuts ARE off the table. And our leadership will cave, so maybe the headline is accurate.

search4truth on May 10, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Maybe ending Bush cuts are off the table?

Youngs98 on May 10, 2011 at 10:22 AM

If Lauer bends over, I’ll show him where his ‘Obama unity’ is.

GarandFan on May 10, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Does being a believer in “Obama Unity,” make Matt Lauer an “Obama Uni-tard?”

steebo77 on May 10, 2011 at 10:22 AM

The headline caught my attention…

right2bright on May 10, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Too much vino for Ed, eh?

Patrick S on May 10, 2011 at 10:18 AM

That was me last night. Ohhhh boy.

blatantblue on May 10, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Ed is still on vacay. ;p

ladyingray on May 10, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Made me look!

Vince on May 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Too much vino for Ed, eh?

Patrick S on May 10, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Or too much cappuccino.

Dusty on May 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM

It just changed…

right2bright on May 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Are there ANY photos available of Boehner that don’t make him look like he’s about to bust out crying? This is starting to feel like the “only pictures of Cheney smirking” phase AOL went through. Jus’ sayin’….

princetrumpet on May 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM

hey this hotair headline makes sense now:

Gallup: For first time, majority of Republicans support third party

unseen on May 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Sorry about that. I was looking through the Bush tax cuts when I wrote the headline. And no, I don’t drink chianti this early in the morning, but, er … maybe I should.

Ed Morrissey on May 10, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Sorry about that. I was looking through the Bush tax cuts when I wrote the headline. And no, I don’t drink chianti this early in the morning, but, er … maybe I should.

Ed Morrissey on May 10, 2011 at 10:25 AM

THAT’S IT!

NEVER READING THIS WEBSITE AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

/garblewomgarble

blatantblue on May 10, 2011 at 10:26 AM

I’ll believe it after we are allowed to fully examine every bill before they vote on it. They already pulled a fast one on us. I don’t put it past the rep establishment to try it again.

csdeven on May 10, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Are there ANY photos available of Boehner that don’t make him look like he’s about to bust out crying?

princetrumpet on May 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Are you kidding? You are obsessed if you think that photo looks like he is about to cry…amazing…the MSM has you wrapped up, doesn’t take much for some.

right2bright on May 10, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Say strong, Mr. Speaker…

Khun Joe on May 10, 2011 at 10:30 AM

He gave a good speech last night. Now we see if the House can back it up. The debt ceiling fight naturally gives him the most leverage here than any budget fight. This ain’t a good position for the Dems. The deficit, total debt, and the bad economy after a failed Keynesian stimulus spending spree is no time to be asking for more credit.
Do the Republicans have the backbone it will take to win or will they decide to be “adults” and give the congressional crackheads 2 Trillion, 700 Billion dollars more crack?

cartooner on May 10, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Oh, well, that’s better. Thanks for the update and the fix.

Pablo Snooze on May 10, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Vid no worky.

fossten on May 10, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Here’s hoping Boehner doesn’t go with some large debt limit increase that will cover a year or more. I’d prefer small ones that take us only a couple of months for several reasons, but briefly, so people can see serious action taken on the deficit and reduce the potential for Obama to play the executive order game, like he did with the last one.

Dusty on May 10, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Sorry about that. I was looking through the Bush tax cuts when I wrote the headline. And no, I don’t drink chianti this early in the morning, but, er … maybe I should.

Ed Morrissey on May 10, 2011 at 10:25 AM

We all knew, but fun jerking your chain…just don’t do it again…

right2bright on May 10, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Did someone let Boehner have his b*lls for this interview? I am not holding my breath on him holding fast to this position. Were I in his district, I would already be looking for an opponent to support in the primary.

TQM38a on May 10, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Stop getting my hopes up, Speaker Boehner.

Chris of Rights on May 10, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Bohener is a liar, plain and simple. He’s another RINO who needs to be hunted into extinction.

madmonkphotog on May 10, 2011 at 10:47 AM

I would have loved it to seen Boehner say “Well, hey, let’s forget that for a moment so we can talk about my new book, “Matt Lauer Can Go Suck It!”, just to watch Lauer’s eyes bug out live.

pilamaye on May 10, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Wow, right2bright…. wound up a little tight are we? Relax, I was mostly joking about the pic. His eyes do what mine do, they’re naturally a little moist. And the eyebrows have that sad look to them. So, as I say… chill.

Still… there were any number of screenshots that could have been chosen that would have given a different impression of the him in that interview.

princetrumpet on May 10, 2011 at 10:49 AM

why would we need to raise the debt ceiling if we are going
to cut trillions? raise it 2 trillion, and cut 2 trillion from future spending still causes us to borrow more money today to pay for our debt.

if we are spending 40 cents of every dollar borrowed, how much more will we pay to cover this exploding debt ceiling increase? 50? 55? 60 cents?

just like a housing crisis, we are underwater, and our sump pump is broken.

mydogwonthunt on May 10, 2011 at 10:50 AM

The national debt is in crisis and Obama is in full campaign mode talking about immigration reform/amnesty.

Priorities folks.

Rovin on May 10, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Rovin on May 10, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Yep. Priorities, indeed.

kingsjester on May 10, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Boehner IS a rino. paraphrasing: “i’ll look at the oil subsidies, maybe we should take that away from the oil industry.” that would be a hidden tax incease on all of us.
the industry would pass on all the extra cost to us, the government would shift the credit to other spending; no tax cut, no debt decrease.

mydogwonthunt on May 10, 2011 at 10:55 AM

At NRO, Brian Bolduc reports:

On the heels of Rep. John Boehner (R., Ohio)’s speech to the Economic Club of New York last night, Rep. Eric Cantor (R. Vir.) visited the New York Stock Exchange this morning, as Republicans continued to reassure the business community they’d fix the nation’s finances.

Before ringing the opening bill for its customary ten seconds, Cantor shook hands and spoke with various traders on the floor. Most made chitchat that was inaudible to onlookers, but a few made some prominent remarks. “Cut the spending,” one trader told Cantor. “You’ve got a lot of fans down here,” another one joked.

onlineanalyst on May 10, 2011 at 11:02 AM

kingsjester on May 10, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Yep! Looks like shoring up his base is the main priority right now. The man cares not for anyone other than his sheep—and even they are going astray.

Rovin on May 10, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Another “The Corner” post:

If Republicans listen to many of their new financial friends at banks, hedge funds, and other investment firms, they will do the “responsible thing” and vote to immediately raise the debt ceiling to whatever level Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner thinks appropriate. And then they will agree to big tax increases to balance the budget.

But House Speaker John Boehner told the Economic Club of New York last night that the House GOP will agree to neither. Tax hikes are off the table. And spending cuts “should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given.” (The only thing missing was Big John telling Senator Geary to personally put up the fee for the gaming license.)

Tough stuff that the audience didn’t much like. And a nice change of pace after Republicans listened to the bankers and backed off fledgling efforts earlier this year to let debt-burdened states declare bankruptcy. (Bad for Wall Street’s pension-fund clients.)

But not raising the debt ceiling at Geithner’s urging is not the same thing as defaulting on U.S. debt obligations, a separation that would be clearer if Congress passed Sen. Pat Toomey’s Full Faith and Credit Act bill, which would prioritize debt payments. And GOPers should think twice about listening to people afflicted with Clinton nostalgia — and high-priced tax attorneys to help them avoid the IRS. A good start to the second phase of the anti-spending spring offensive.

— James Pethokoukis is Money & Politics columnist at Reuters Breakingviews.

onlineanalyst on May 10, 2011 at 11:10 AM

This is the main event in fiscal policy, and it will take a titanic struggle to find our way through it. It’s an opportunity to finally address the decades-long habit of spending more than we have, and we cannot put off that debate any longer.

Let’s hope that Boehner is up to the job, and takes advantage of the leverage he now has with the debt ceiling to force through some SERIOUS cuts, not just $0.000352 trillion on a $1.6 trillion deficit.

With current deficits running $1.6 Trillion a year, or about $133 billion per month, Boehner needs to insist that spending be cut for FY 2012 (not later years) by $1 for every $1 the debt ceiling is raised. If the Dems want to play small-ball and cut $35 billion or so, then we’ll have this debate again next week. Even if $800 Billion is cut, we will have this debate again this time next year, when Obama is on the ballot.

Steve Z on May 10, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Boehner has done more to attack the dems than most any other Republican has for the past 16 years.
Is he the perfect conservative? No, but he is taking it to them a step at a time.
Obama feels the pressure, and the pressure is applied week after week…to win a war you don’t have to drop all your bombs at once, you win by wearing down your opponent.
Boehner is wearing him down, and not offending the “independents”, the ones we need to win it all next election.
I will take the small steps, if we can get the giant leap next election.

right2bright on May 10, 2011 at 11:32 AM

if we are spending 40 cents of every dollar borrowed, how much more will we pay to cover this exploding debt ceiling increase? 50? 55? 60 cents?

just like a housing crisis, we are underwater, and our sump pump is broken.

mydogwonthunt on May 10, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Don’t we all WISH we were spending 40 cents of every dollar borrowed–we are now borrowing 40 cents of every dollar spent!

This is equivalent to a person taking home $60,000 a year and borrowing $40,000 a year so he can spend $100,000 a year. He might get away with this for a few years, until the banks take whatever collateral he might have had.

In the grand scheme of things, Uncle Sam is the borrower, and China is the bank, and we’ll be velly, velly solly.

Steve Z on May 10, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Boehner has to be steadfast in the debt ceiling negotiations or he will lose the support of the Tea Partiers who are still wanting to be part of the Republican Party.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 10, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Speaker John Boned is about to sell us out on the debt ceiling, however. Harry Reid offered him 3 magic beans.

james23 on May 10, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Boehner has to be steadfast in the debt ceiling negotiations or he will lose the support of the Tea Partiers who are still wanting to be part of the Republican Party.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 10, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Har har har hahahahaha bwah hahahaha! Now that’s some funny sh!t right there! You think there’s any chance in Hell that Boehner will be steadfast?

gryphon202 on May 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM

I hope Boehner can follow through. If you raise taxes, cuts don’t happen.

Sekhmet on May 10, 2011 at 12:01 PM

I hope Boehner can follow through. If you raise taxes, cuts don’t happen.

Sekhmet on May 10, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Don’t hold your breath. The Crybaby doesn’t have a good track record.

gryphon202 on May 10, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Har har har hahahahaha bwah hahahaha! Now that’s some funny sh!t right there! You think there’s any chance in Hell that Boehner will be steadfast?

gryphon202 on May 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM

You may be right, but I hope you are wrong. A lot of people will get off the bus if he and the Republicans cave.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 10, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Until they’re not, I suspect.

Cylor on May 10, 2011 at 12:20 PM

You may be right, but I hope you are wrong. A lot of people will get off the bus if he and the Republicans cave.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 10, 2011 at 12:15 PM

I hope I’m wrong too, but The Crybaby’s record is not good in this regard.

gryphon202 on May 10, 2011 at 12:50 PM

Lauer is one of the worst left wing Obama shills. Boehner is to be commend for taking him on and avoiding his traps. Now, we’ll see if his actions match his words.

rplat on May 10, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Boehner is hearing it from his state I guarantee you first of all not to mention conservatives from every state.He better reach way down inside because he is going to get pounded from the media and the dems like never before.It makes me sick that the media can’t understand why he is drawing a line in the sand,like obama and the dems did not do this with h/care?:)

ohiobabe on May 10, 2011 at 1:31 PM

He gave a good speech last night. Now we see if the House can back it up. The debt ceiling fight naturally gives him the most leverage here than any budget fight. This ain’t a good position for the Dems. The deficit, total debt, and the bad economy after a failed Keynesian stimulus spending spree is no time to be asking for more credit.
Do the Republicans have the backbone it will take to win or will they decide to be “adults” and give the congressional crackheads 2 Trillion, 700 Billion dollars more crack?

cartooner on May 10, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Rush talked about his speech in his first hour today. Rush said that Boehner can’t walk this back otherwise he is toast. Let’s hope Boehner finds his backbone and a box of kleenex.

karenhasfreedom on May 10, 2011 at 2:23 PM