Rep. Eric Cantor has walked out of Joe Biden’s budget talks because Democrats are insisting that tax hikes be part of any debt-ceiling deal. But Cantor’s entire party has already voted for Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which does not include any tax hikes and, despite its controversial spending cuts, still racks up $5.4 trillion in fresh debt over the next decade.
Before Thursday, it would have been hard to find a purer example of political posturing and hypocrisy than Republican support for a plan that adds $5.4 trillion to the debt even as Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling. But that phoniness factor has just been increased by Cantor’s huff.
For the umpteenth time, let me say it: President Obama should insist that both sides increase the debt limit only by the amount it would take to accommodate the Ryan budget’s debt over the next decade — and then say we can work out the details later. Uttering those lines would change the news coverage, and thus the dynamics, of this negotiation overnight. With Cantor pulling stunts like this one, isn’t it time the White House did something creative?