Eric Cantor (R-VA) decided to pull out of talks with Joe Biden on what to do about the debt. He placed the problem in President Obama’s and Speaker’s Boehner’s laps saying there were issues relating to taxes that only they could resolve.Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a man well known on Capitol Hill to negotiate defeat from the jaws of victory, decided he would pull out as well.Getting Kyl out of these talks is actually a good thing because Kyl’s negotiating skills leave much to be desired.In any event, the media is breathlessly reporting this and making a big to do about taxes and tax increases being the big sticking point.Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to me that the big news should be that Democrats and Republicans think $2 trillion in cuts over the next ten years is a serious deal. Meanwhile the debt will keep going up.This is the same problem we see with the Gang of 5 or 6 in the Senate. Recently, Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) proudly proclaimed they were on the cusp of a deal that would raise tax revenue by $1.00 for every $3.00 in spending cuts. But the nugget everyone seems to ignore is this one:
The Gang of Six, now down to five, is trying to craft a deficit-slashing plan along the lines of the 10-year, $4 trillion package that Obama’s deficit commission put together last year. Basically, that plan called for $1 in higher taxes in exchange for every $3 in cuts to government spending and benefit programs. The nation’s $14.3 trillion debt would continue to grow, but at a much slower pace.
So, regardless of which plan, which negotiation, and which cuts and increases you want to talk about, it seems no one in Washington is serious about actually shrinking the national debt.