Republicans are coming to terms with the fact that they will have to cede real, higher tax revenues to President Obama if they want to avoid the full expiration of the Bush tax cuts.
But while Democrats have been explicit about what they want from the GOP — a higher top income tax rate on high earners — Republicans have been vague about what they want in return.
When asked, Republicans insist that Democrats will have to accept “structural reforms” to support programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security if Republicans are to relent on taxes. But neither Democratic nor Republican aides can publicly say what would pass the GOP’s “structural reform” test.
“What do you think they mean by structural changes?” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asked rhetorically at a Capitol press conference last week. “Do they mean reducing benefits to our — to America’s great middle class? What do we mean? I mean, let’s define our terms. What do they mean by structural changes? … Is that a euphemism for I am going to cut your benefit if you are a middle‑aged senior? Is that what structural change means? No, I don’t support that.”
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