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When Kyl first proposed these and other revenue sources, Republican conservatives smelled a rat and criticized what many saw as a backdoor way to increase taxes. And, clearly, we need to be sure that increased user fees are not, in reality, taxes by another name. But it makes sense to ask those who use government services to pay for them. Loser pays is right. But so is “user pays.”
And we should increase our revenues from oil-and-gas leases for offshore drilling up and down the East and West coasts. To lessen our dependence on foreign oil and to increase domestic production and self-reliance, we should speed the leasing process and use the increased revenues to plug some of the deficit.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) deserves credit for pulling House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) back from the precipice of a $4 trillion budget deal with $1 trillion in extra revenues. One can see how to increase revenues without raising taxes by the $300 billion to$400 billion needed to cement a $2.4 trillion deal, but when we get up to the $1 trillion range, we have to be talking about real tax increases.
And, if the Republicans and Obama cannot cut a deal and head for a showdown, the House should pass a conditional increase in the debt limit of a few hundred billion dollars, the money only to be used if the secretary of the Treasury certifies that he needs the funds to avert default and that there is no other source of money available. House Republicans need to take the default sword out of the president’s hands, and even a one-house bill for such a conditional debt hike would do it.
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