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A liberal think tank with close ties to President Barack Obama says the administration and Congress should consider raising taxes on Americans to help close federal budget deficits, an opening salvo in what is likely to be a protracted debate on tax policy.
In a draft report, the Center for American Progress says the size of projected budget gaps requires considering options including tax increases as well as curbs on annual spending and entitlement programs supported by Democrats.
Such ideas could pose problems for Mr. Obama, who pledged during the campaign to not increase taxes on families making less than $250,000. The report, which will be released on Wednesday, said the administration can't rely on taxing richer Americans and companies to reduce the deficit to sustainable levels by 2014 because those groups would see 40% tax increases.
The center's president and chief executive, John Podesta, who is an Obama adviser, said the administration should consider a tax on consumption, such as a value-added tax system similar to that in use in the European Union. Mr. Podesta suggested that its impact should be limited to protect lower-income people, who otherwise might be hit particularly hard.
"As progressives we need to debate the policy merits and likelihood of enacting a range of options -- including designing a small and more progressive value-added tax, changes to the corporate tax code, and taxing upper income earners beyond reversing the Bush tax cuts," Mr. Podesta said in a statement Tuesday.