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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tea Party wing of House has been clear: Government is too big, only acceptable deal is to shrink it

Obama can resolve cliff by backing his 2011 plan - if he ignores election and reality

This is a column I believe is based largely on wishful thinking and simply ignoring a few realities. The 2011 plan this columnist is referring to, which would have been the "Grand Bargain," was turned down by the same House Republicans who just rebuffed Speaker John Boehner last week.

They are screaming in every way possible that they don't want any new revenue. Period.

They believe the government is too big and too wasteful, so why give it new revenue - no matter what Boehner agrees to, no matter how President Barack Obama frames it? How many times do they have to say this and vote this way before people understand that they are serious?

They believe shrinking the federal government is more important than not going off the fiscal cliff, just as they believed it was more important than all the economic hell that would have broken loose had we not raised the debt ceiling.

And Tim Scott, our current represenative in the House, is in that number. Whether you agree with their position or not - and I don't - they at least have been clear and consistent. You can call it a tax increase, a tax hike, a revenue increase, or whatever, they simply don't want it. They believe it is bad for the country because they believe it leads to an even more bloated, wasteful government. And they have maintained that position even after their party lost big nationally just last month and lost seats in the House and Senate and lost the White House again.

Given that reality, they will sign off on nothing - nothing- that increases taxes in any shape or form. The question now is should we allow them to dictate everything. I don't think we should.

There are enough Republicans and Democrats in both chambers to get a good, sizable, reasonable deal done that would actually start dealing with our long-term debt, which is the real issue. The only question is if Boehner is willing to walk away from his far-right flank to make that happen.

The only other option is to give the Tea Party wing of the party exactly what it wants and only what it wants as though no other voices matter, and that makes the least sense of all the options.

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