‘We’re not changing this offer’

With the deadline for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — better known as the super-committee — less than a week away, it’s probably a good time to pause and appreciate what Republican members are demanding. Their debt-reduction offer is, as a practical matter, a negative plan.

I don’t mean that in the sense that the GOP proposal is off-putting; I mean it literally. Republicans have presented an offer that cuts roughly $895 billion in spending, adds $250 billion in revenue, and cuts taxes over the next 10 years by $3.7 trillion. The net savings for the country, if this plan were adopted, would be -$2.25 trillion.

While some in the media seem amazed that Republicans are willing to accept $250 billion in revenue, those same folks in the media seem unaware of the fact that the GOP plan to reduce the deficit actually adds to the deficit, only to have Republicans calling this a “concession.”

This is effectively aiming north and going south.

And with six days to go, is there any chance Republicans might suddenly become more reasonable? It seems exceedingly unlikely.

Republican super committee Co-Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) appeared to double-down today on his contention that the GOP will not consider more tax increases as part of any deal to reduce the deficit. […]

Seconds after he asserted that he would not summarily reject any proposals, Hensarling repeated, “We’re not changing this offer we have on the table.”

The comments to reporters came a day after Hensarling, the leading Republican on the super-committee, told CNBC that he opposes adding so much as a “penny” in additional revenue, and that his party has gone “as far as we feel we can go.”

In other words, the very best Republicans can do to reduce the debt is a plan to cut taxes that adds to the debt.

In fairness, I should probably note that Hensarling did signal at least some additional flexibility on tax revenue, but only if Democrats agree to partially privatize Medicare.

And people wonder why the negotiations aren’t going well.

Super-committee Democrats, meanwhile, came up with a third offer yesterday: $876 billion in spending cuts, $400 billion in new revenue, and investing $300 billion in unspent war money on job creation, for a total debt-reduction package of nearly $1.3 trillion over the next decade. Republicans immediately said the offer wasn’t close to good enough.

To reiterate a point from yesterday, when this panel fails next week, major news organizations will tell the public that “both sides” chose not to reach an agreement. Those reports will be wrong.