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Kyl, Portman Toomey, Henserling, Camp and Upton

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Clockwise, from top left: Jon Kyl, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, Fred Upton, Jeb Hensarling and Dave Camp are shown in this composite. | AP Photos

The GOP sends to the supercommittee six serious, smart legislators, none of whom is likely to vote for tax hikes in the guise of “tax reform,” either by attacking the home mortgage, charitable or state tax deductions or by backing a VAT. Congressman Henserling and Senator Toomey represent the deficit hawks, and Senator Kyl will not allow the supergang of 12 to savage defense to pay for social programs.

If the supercommittee simply fixes Social Security by moving the retirement age and fixing the COLA formula, it will have accomplished a great deal.

If it pursues a second stimulus via the approval of a non-penalized, non-taxed conversion of some part of retirement savings, that would be a great thing and an infusion of capital into the economy that doesn’t require new federal spending.

If it actually got Medicare on a path to sustainability and Medicaid in the hands of the states, that would make it among the most historic legislative efforts ever.

Whatever they do, however, the six Republicans have to overcommunicate from day one their priorities and plans so that the MSM does not set up the drumbeat for tax hikes as a foregone conclusion.

One fear: Michigan’s Camp/Upton alliance tries to legislate UofM win over OSU in The Game.

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