Q. Cooper-LaTourette, a budget bill which you supported, contains a series of tax increases as well as spending cuts, and follows in some ways the Simpson-Bowles recommendations. You voted for it. The Concord Coalition gave you an award for that. How come you don’t state publicly that only a combination of taxes and cuts will get us to fiscal solvency? Wouldn’t that make for a more honest debate?
A. We must start the discussion somewhere. You’ve seen how the Republican budget has been demagogued. I’ve said right along that you have to do something bipartisan and my vote was to take a bipartisan approach.
Q. So do we need to increase tax rates, as Cooper-LaTourette would have done, because you have said all along that what we have is a spending problem?
A. The amount of spending on all kinds of things is gross—people have no idea. We have a spending problem. We can’t cut our way out of this deficit. We can’t tax our way out of it. We do need to increase tax revenue, but not by increasing the tax rate. We need a pro-growth economic agenda. We need to revise the tax code with lower rates and get rid of these crazy loopholes and get government out of the way so that businesses can grow and then people will pay more tax, once we have the economy back on its feet.