Senator Coburn’s remark–“Actually, I would rather see the rates go up than do it the other way because it gives us a greater chance to reform the tax code and broaden the base in the future”–puzzled me, so I contacted a press aide of his for clarification. Based on our conversation, I think what he’s saying is this: If Congress imposes a cap on deductions, it will be a poor substitute for a real tax reform that actually makes the hard choices of deciding which tax breaks to scale back. It may make it less likely that Congress ever takes up the task of real reform. It is more likely, in his view, that Congress would take up a real tax reform after a rate increase. He is against either option–increasing revenue a lot either by raising tax rates or by cutting tax breaks–unless it’s coupled with entitlement reform.