So much that they would be willing to accept small tax increases to get it done.
The commentariat here is very conservative. We have a group that hates tax increases, supported the Bush tax cuts, and fought the effort to let them expire.
And yet, when I put up a poll that asked whether people would prefer the status quo, or a scenario where we combined Paul Ryan-level tax cuts with tax increases taking us back to Clinton-era levels, an overwhelming majority rejected the status quo in favor of the latter.
Now, I stacked the deck with that example. The cuts proposed by Paul Ryan are not nicks, like the relatively small cuts that occupied the recent budget discussions in Congress. They are serious cuts that would go a long way towards reforming entitlements. And the tax increases we’re talking about are, let’s be honest, relatively small. I deliberately gave a skewed example because I believed that the readers here would be so opposed to tax cuts that they would reject them no matter how skewed the example might be.
But to my great surprise, after about 800 votes we have 88% percent of the voters here choosing small tax increases and large budget cuts over the status quo. Those percentages were constant over the life of the poll. From the time we had only 20 votes, there was never a smaller than 86% level of support for an alternative to the status quo.
Now, there are some caveats here. First, those numbers would change if you replaced the Ryan cuts with smaller ones, or if you proposed a more draconian set of tax increases. Second, I made it an explicit stipulation in the poll that the tax increases would be tied to the spending cuts — and that any repeal of the spending cuts would automagically mean a repeal of the tax increases. That would be tough legislation to craft, and any future Congress could re-enact the tax increases without the cuts. Republicans have an eternal suspicion that spending cuts are short-lived, while tax increases are forever. Third, I stipulated in the poll that we could not get the spending cuts without the tax increases. That may or may not be true, politically. So the poll, to put it mildly, does not necessarily reflect a real-world scenario.
So don’t get the idea that Republicans don’t really care about tax increases. That would be the wrong lesson to learn from these results.
The right lesson is this: conservatives are absolutely fed up with the status quo. They are desperate for real budget reform. And they are so thirsty for a change that, contrary to conventional wisdom, they would even accept some mild tax increases — if they had to do so to accomplish the goal of saving our children’s future.
UPDATE: I initially said “Republicans are absolutely fed up with the status quo.” We can’t really call that a “slip of the keyboard” — so just call it a brain freeze. Stashiu points out in comments that it is conservatives who are fed up, not “Republicans” — hence, the Tea Party. I have rewritten the sentence (and the headline) to make it conform with reality.