This week, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have been trading secret offers on the fiscal cliff. Last night, they met for nearly an hour, and emerged with zipped lips about what progress—if any—they made on averting tax hikes across the board and automatic, deep budget cuts that would devastate America’s defenses.
While action is necessary to avoid the “cliff,” that is all they should do at this late date. Patrick Louis Knudsen, Heritage’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Federal Budgetary Affairs, warns against a “grand bargain” involving tax hikes in the short amount of time available:
[H]istory shows that broad bipartisan compromises between the White House and Congress have typically just yielded higher taxes, while the promised spending restraint (except in national defense) and deficit reduction have failed to materialize.
In fact, Knudsen says, “Such agreements tend to produce higher taxes and higher spending with little or no deficit reduction.”