Jared Bernstein, debating the liberals' tax case with a conservative opponent (missed his name) on CNBC this morning, said it all. I paraphrase; we can talk about closing loopholes all day long, but, in reality, every loophole is somebody's baby that they're not going to give it up without a fight. Suggesting that a compromise on revenue will not happen without raising marginal tax rates on those earning over $250k — which, by the way—all things being equal—would raise an estimated $60-70 billion a year. So if you think, as the President implies, that this will go a long way toward solving our fiscal problems, you've got another think coming. That "boost" to revenue amounts to maybe a week of government spending.
Nevertheless, for the sake of expediency, raising tax rates on the "rich" sounds a whole lot more doable (fiscal-cliffly speaking) than tackling our monstrosity of a tax code. But what about spending cuts? Isn't every dollar spent somebody's baby as well? And what happens when those who'd take the higher tax hit also benefit from government spending? How hard do you think they'd lobby to protect their baby?
Don't worry folks, compromise will happen—and somehow, someway, everyone's baby will survive. Which means we're yet a long way from getting our nursery in order.