Wednesday, July 6, 2011


David Brooks’s epiphany yesterday got noticed. Aside from the post here, he got the attention of the blogosphere on both the right and the left.

His call for the Republicans to consider a measly little tax hike drew a somewhat spluttering response from the Republican budget poster boy, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI):

RYAN: What happens if you do what he’s saying, is then you can’t lower tax rates. So it does affect marginal tax rates. In order to lower marginal tax rates, you have to take away those loopholes so you can lower those tax rates. If you want to do what we call being revenue neutral … If you take a deal like that, you’re necessarily requiring tax rates to be higher for everybody. You need lower tax rates by going after tax loopholes. If you take away the tax loopholes without lowering tax rates, then you deny Congress the ability to lower everybody’s tax rates and you keep people’s tax rates high.

What he’s saying is that if they close tax loopholes, that would effectively raise taxes, so he wants to lower the tax rates to cancel out the closures, which means you end up right back where you started. Got that?