As new fiscal crises near, Democrats seek more tax increases

by Anita Kumar and Kevin G. Hall, McClatchy Newspapers  |  published on January 11, 2013

fiscal cliff

In case you thought there was no risk of your taxes going up again, think again. Washington isn’t done with you yet.

Democrats, led by President Barack Obama, want lawmakers to consider a fresh set of tax increases in the next several weeks when they discuss whether to cut spending.

Republicans oppose raising tax rates, especially after they just raised some of them for the first time in two decades in the New Year’s deal that extended most – but not all – of the expiring Bush tax cuts.

But much of what Obama is talking about is raising tax revenue without actually raising tax rates. In Washington-speak, lawmakers will try to collect more tax money by closing tax loopholes, perhaps limiting popular tax deductions and to some degree changing the way citizens pay into the popular Medicare and Social Security programs.

The New Year’s deal raised income tax rates for individuals’ taxable income above $400,000 and family income above $450,000. That’s less than 1 percent of all U.S. taxpayers. The deal is projected to raise about $600 billion over 10 years, not enough to significantly chip away at deficits that still will total more than $6.8 trillion over the same period. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill will be looking to trim $2 trillion over 10 years from projected future deficits as part of any deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by the end of February and prevent $109 billion in deep spending cuts from occurring in March.

Democrats say Obama will continue to push for an equal split between revenues and cuts – $1 trillion in new tax revenues and $1 trillion in spending cuts.

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