WHAT ORRIN HATCH CONSIDERS A ‘TAX INCREASE’…. President Obama keeps offering congressional Republicans compromise plans on tax policy, and GOP officials keep rejecting them out of hand.

In the latest offer, the White House has a proposal that seems more than fair: a permanent reduction of middle-class tax rates, and an extension of Bush-era rates for the wealthy for a year or two. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who’s already foresworn compromising with Democrats on this, has a novel description of the latest presidential offer.

“That’s a tax increase plain and simple that would be used to fund more Washington spending and would discourage private sector job growth,” he said.

Matt Finkelstein summarized the problem nicely:

Just so we’re clear, here is Hatch’s argument:

(1) Temporary extension of tax cuts for the rich + temporary extension of tax cuts for the middle class = possibly acceptable outcome.

(2) Temporary extension of tax cuts for the rich + permanent extension of tax cuts for the middle class = “a tax increase plain and simple.”

By the way, as far as the political establishment is concerned, Hatch is supposed to be one of the Republicans that Democrats should be able to work with in good faith.

That he considers a tax cut a tax increase suggests otherwise.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.