NYT: “How Party of Budget Restraint Shifted to ‘No New Taxes,’ Ever”

Some really interesting history about the Republican Party shift from fiscal responsibility to never raising taxes: How Party of Budget Restraint Shifted to ‘No New Taxes,’ Ever.

From the piece:

When conservatives sank Speaker John A. Boehner’s plan last week to acquiesce on tax increases for the most affluent Americans as part of a potential broader deal with the Obama administration to avert tax increases for everyone else, several said that 1990 accord was a reason. They regard Mr. Bush’s broken promise as a major reason he was not re-elected, and they say the budget agreement proved that such compromises do not restrain the growth of government.

But the 1990 legislation also highlights a basic challenge now facing the party, which the chaos within the House caucus helped bring into public view on Thursday night.

Republicans continue to embrace the no-new-taxes stand as a centerpiece of the party’s identity, even in the face of public opinion that strongly supports tax increases on high incomes. And some Republicans fear that the party’s commitment to prevent tax increases more and more is coming at the expense of those other, older kinds of fiscal responsibility.

As I’ve noted here repeatedly, the most expensive items in the federal budget are wildly popular — including with Republicans. Americans like Social Security as it is and don’t want to restrain spending on Medicare — and don’t want deep cuts to defense either.

From the piece:

“When I entered politics, the frame of reference was a balanced budget as the principle conservative precept,” said former Representative James Leach, an Iowa Republican who served from 1977 to 2007. “Today, it’s the level of taxes.”