Give us what we want and then we’ll negotiate

GIVE US WHAT WE WANT AND THEN WE’LL NEGOTIATE…. The idea of some kind of bipartisan budget commission is misguided, but the underlying goal is not entirely ridiculous. There are limited options when it comes reducing the government’s long-term deficit: collect more money, spend less money, or some combination of the two.

The commission would ostensibly create the conditions for some kind of grand bargain — Democrats would have to accept spending cuts they would otherwise oppose, and Republicans would accept tax increases they would otherwise oppose. Spread the pain around and everyone gets some political cover.

The Wall Street Journal’s right-wing editorial page has a suggestion for Republicans in how they approach these talks, should they occur.

A budget deficit commission is nothing more than a time-tested ploy to get Republicans to raise taxes. […]

The Democrats will use a tax-and-spend commission to confront Republicans with the false choice between huge tax increases or fiscal disaster. Republicans should respond with their own choice: They’ll agree to a deficit commission only if it takes tax increases off the table….

In other words, as far as the WSJ is concerned, a grand bargain can be considered just as long as one side gets what everything it wants in advance of the negotiations. Yeah, that’ll work.

In our reality, thanks to Republican policies championed by the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, there’s a serious long-term budget shortfall. Closing that shortfall without tax increases is impossible, whether the GOP and its mouthpieces like it or not.

Update: Looks like others were thinking along the same lines.