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Has John Boehner really agreed to increase taxes on the rich?


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That’s how some analysts reacted to Boehner’s postelection remarks. After all, on Nov. 7 he said he'd accept new revenues that were "a byproduct of a growing economy."

“Conservative proponents of tax reform have long wanted to change the budget rules so that they get credit for bigger tax collections from hoped-for changes in economic growth that follows tax reform. The Speaker has merely restated that hope in a conciliatory tone,” wrote federal tax expert Clint Stretch earlier this month on the blog Capital Gains and Games.

Democrats call this “dynamic scoring,” and they say the heck with it. They point out that the Congressional Budget Office has studied this question and concluded that it cannot find a direct correlation between tax reform and economic growth. Obama rejected it at his Wednesday press conference.

“What I will not do is have a process that is vague that says we will sort-of, kind-of raise revenue through dynamic scoring or by closing loopholes that have not been identified,” he said.

So that’s the state of play heading into Friday’s meeting between the two sides at the White House. We’ll have a better idea about the chances of quick fiscal deal after they’ve exchanged initial positions that may provide more detail on this crucial question. Keep in mind that Boehner has to negotiate with his own party's hard-line antitax right wing as well as the Democrats he'll face across the table.


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