Republicans willing to break no-tax pledge -- for a price

There's been a lot of excitement on the left over the supposed weakening of anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist's influence, as two Republican Senators have publicly announced their willingness to break their pledge not to raise taxes. I wouldn't get too excited yet, though. Lindsay Graham's (R-SC) conditions, for example, are absolutely unacceptable:

When you're $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans should put revenue on the table. We're this far in debt. We don't generate enough revenue. Capping deductions will help generate revenues. Raising tax rates will hurt job creation. I agree with Grover that we shouldn't raise rates, but I think Grover is wrong when it comes to we can't cap deductions. [...] I will violate the pledge, long story short for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reforms. (Emphasis added)

"Entitlement reform" is code for rolling back the New Deal and Great Society, and reneging on the promises of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Graham would be willing to cap deductions for the very rich -- but not to raise tax rates -- in exchange for eliminating the promise of a safety net for the elderly, poor, and disabled.

That says a lot to me about the GOP's priorities. If seems there's at least one policy more important to them than protecting the very rich: Eliminating support for the poor.

This isn't some new, reinvented, softer GOP, as much as we'd like to see such a thing. It's simply that some conservatives are willing to make slight concessions to achieve their holy grail: eliminating the safety net and returning to a society where everyone is completely on their own.

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