That’s one

THAT’S ONE…. Over the last month or so, there’s been an aggressive push among Republican leaders to insist that tax cuts don’t need to be paid for, because they pay for themselves. This notion — often characterized as belief in the Tax Fairy — isn’t taken seriously by any credible economist or expert, and was even rejected by Bush/Cheney economists, but has quickly become the standard GOP tax policy in 2010.

Indeed, when Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) got the ball rolling on this point, he insisted that his bizarre views are endorsed by “most of the people in my party.” And sure enough, Republicans rallied behind the obvious nonsense.

I couldn’t find a single GOP lawmaker in D.C. willing to reject this garbage. It’s only fair, then, that I mention that one has finally shown up.

A number of old Republican hands warning of a deficit crisis have split with the GOP leadership over extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts.

Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), President Reagan’s budget chief David Stockman and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan have each argued that extending the tax cuts — set to expire at year’s end — would increase the nation’s $13 trillion debt.

“It’s like tax reductions, you don’t need to pay for them? To me, that’s nonsense,” Voinovich said.

OK, that’s one. A grand total of one GOP member of Congress is willing to acknowledge, out loud and on the record, that the basis for the party’s tax policy doesn’t actually make any sense.

Of course, Voinovich is retiring from politics this year, and need not worry about reprisals. When lawmakers head out the door, their appreciation for candor seems to go up. Imagine that.

Of course, it would have been far more helpful had Voinovich acknowledge reality far sooner — say, when he was voting for the Bush/Cheney policies that got us in this mess in the first place. For that matter, it’s also worth emphasizing the limits of Voinovich’s wisdom — he realizes the Tax Fairy doesn’t exist, but he’s nevertheless fought vehemently against every Democratic measure in this Congress that reduces the deficit and grows the economy.

Still, credit where credit is due. I asked for one Republican to acknowledge reality, and one has. How very exciting for us all.