What Dems have already given up in debt talks

As House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) walked away from the negotiating table this morning, he touched on all that he’s already accomplished in the debt-reduction talks.

“I believe that we have identified trillions in spending cuts, and to date, we have established a blueprint that could institute the fiscal reforms needed to start getting our fiscal house in order,” Mr. Cantor said in a prepared statement.

“That said, each side came into these talks with certain orders, and as it stands the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases. There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation. Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue.”

Just so we’re clear about this, if Cantor is telling the truth and has his details straight, Democrats have already offered Republicans “trillions in spending cuts.”

Obviously, we’ll need to know more about the details — what’s cut, over how many years, etc. — but several weeks ago, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he expected over $2 trillion in cuts as part of this hostage strategy. Cantor seems to think those cuts have already been “identified.”

So what’s holding up the deal? The main sticking point, of course, is revenue. Democrats believe a compromise on debt reduction that only cuts spending isn’t really a compromise. As part of a balanced approach, Dems want to spread the sacrifice around.

And in response, Republican leaders have said a deal can advance just as soon as Dems give up and agree to what the GOP wants.

As for whether any additional revenue can be part of a deal, I suppose it’s worth noting that Cantor’s statement blasted “tax increases” today, but didn’t explicitly rule out ending tax breaks, loopholes, and/or subsidies.

Also note, while revenue will probably be the toughest hurdle to overcome, the GOP is also likely to demand structural “reforms,” including spending caps and a vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Yes, I know, the debate took a right turn at Sanity Street quite a while ago, and never looked back.

Still, the news here seems to be Democrats offering “trillions in spending cuts,” but Republicans refusing to make any concessions in return.