WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Tom Coburn says that a long-term deficit reduction plan must include some revenue increases, because that's what Americans want.
"It's time for the Senate to earn its reputation as the world’s greatest deliberative body and help lead that effort," Coburn wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday.
"The public rightly prefers spending cuts over revenue increases, but numerous polls indicate the vast majority of Americans would support the only type of plan that would ever make it out of Congress and be signed into law: one that favors spending cuts over revenue increases but includes both," he explained.
The stance taken by the Oklahoma senator, viewed as a stalwart conservative, is exceedingly rare in today's GOP. Even though he stressed that spending cuts are more important, raising taxes in any way is viewed as anathema among the party's leadership and activist base.
To make his point, Coburn invoked a recent Fiscal Times article by former Bush economist Bruce Bartlett, which said the GOP's unwavering anti-tax stance is "crumbling" and that "basic arithmetic" precludes balancing the budget without tax increases.
"Change happens when the American people see real debate, not partisan political theater," the senator wrote in the Post, calling for a debate that "puts everything on the table" and takes on "serious entitlement reform and tax reform."
Coburn's op-ed came one day after he pulled out of the so-called Gang of Six, a group of three Democratic and three Republican senators who have been working on a long-term budget compromise.