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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Len Burman and Joel Slemrod

Changing the cost-benefit calculus on taxes

A revealing thing has happened on the way to the fiscal cliff: A bloc of GOP House members rejected their own leader’s proposal to extend the Bush tax cuts for all but millionaires. Speaker John Boehner expected opposition from Democrats. Instead, he was thwarted by the intransigence of his own members, whose aversion to taxes trumps all other concerns.

Of course, Republicans purport to care about more than low taxes. They say they want smaller government and lower deficits. And yet, they have repeatedly refused to consider trading even small tax increases for much larger spending cuts.

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