REPORTFederal Budget Deficits and Taxes

For Joint Select Committee, many good options:
Progressive revenue proposals would narrow budget gap by trillions

By Andrew Fieldhouse | October 13, 2011

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As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction negotiates the second phase of deficit reduction under the Budget Control Act, it is imperative that its proposals include greater revenue to equitably balance the sole focus on spending cuts in the first phase. President Obama has produced a set of recommendations for the committee that would balance additional spending cuts and a winding down of war spending with new revenues and fully financed job creation measures. This issue brief analyzes the revenue proposals in the president’s recommendations and offers a menu of alternative or supplemental progressive revenue options to reduce the deficit and/or finance job creation initiatives. As detailed in this brief:

  • The president’s revenue recommendations for the joint committee mark a step toward revenue adequacy and a more equitable tax code relative to current tax policies by raising $1.3 trillion in new revenue over the next decade relative to current tax policies.
  • The president’s proposed tax changes would predominantly affect the top 5% of earners (with incomes above $227,000) while cutting average taxes for the bottom 60% of earners (with incomes below $65,000).
  • The president’s revenue recommendations, however, fall $3.4 trillion shy of projected revenue under current law. Revenue inadequacy and the Bush-era tax cuts remain prime drivers of budget deficits and are only partially addressed by the president’s recommendations.


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