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Alan Simpson: Calling tax reform a tax increase is a lie

"We tire of the phrase 'tax increase' when we're digging around in a trillion -- a 1 trillion, 100 billion dollar -- pile of stack of stuff called tax expenditures, which really affect about 5 percent of the American people," Simpson testified in front of the supercommittee. 

“When you take one of those out, to call that a tax increase is a terminological inexactitude, it would be called a lie in other words.”

Simpson, along with Erskine Bowles, co-chaired President Obama’s fiscal commission, which recommended closing the budget gap through spending cuts and tax reform. 

Americans For Tax Reform’s president Grover Norquist has pushed the idea that there should be a spending offset for eliminating any tax expenditure. Norquist, whose anti-tax pledge has been signed by 238 members of the House and 41 Senators, claims that eliminating an expenditure is the same as a tax increase. 

The Senate brought the dispute over what counts as a tax increase to the forefront in June when 34 Republican senators voted to end ethanol subsidies without an offset.

Simpson added that his commission did not get into offsetting any tax expenditures. 

“We’re just going to go around Grover and let Grover rant,” he said.