A plan, it would seem, that Timothy Geithner could get behind (and probably was behind). But I was surprised to read from Larry Summers today that he too apparently considers approximately the same level of revenue and presumably the same revenue-to-spending-cuts ratio sufficient:
First, the single largest and easiest method of deficit reduction is the non-extension of the Bush high-income tax cuts. The president should make clear that he will not accept their extension on any terms. That, along with modest entitlement reform, will be sufficient to hit current deficit reduction targets."Modest" entitlement reform. That's how Obama characterized the $3 trillion in reductions from current spending trend lines in the deal-that-wasn't. And on the revenue side, Obama's pledge that he will not allow extension of the Bush tax cuts for the top bracket appears to have sunk in across the political spectrum:
Ryan said he assumes that Obama and congressional Democrats will make good on their pledge to let the tax cuts that benefit high-income households expire on schedule.“So their tax increases are coming,” he said.Could all this negotiation be kabuki theater? Is some functional equivalent of the Obama-Boehner deal, to be patched together by Nov. 2012, already baked in?
Well, no. Of course it matters a lot whether tax reform is tackled by the supercommittee or pushed off to round three -- legislation that heads off expiration of all the Bush tax cuts. And the broadest outlines -- the blithe talk of trillions one, two, three, four -- are sketched over trillions of details. And depending on the viability of design and the fortunes of the economy, the cuts legislated this year may or may not have much bearing on spending through 2021. But it does seem that on a ten-year horizon a range of cuts -- $2-3 trillion -- and a range of new revenue -- $1 - 2 trillion -- will be written into law before 2012 is done.