WASHINGTON — Higher taxes have been missing from the fierce budget battle that nearly shut down the federal government. But President Barack Obama is about to put them on the table – at least a modest version that he had pushed before and then rested on the shelf.
Most economists and budget analysts say a comprehensive mix of spending cuts and tax increases is essential to any viable deficit-reduction plan. Yet few players in the negotiations have gone there.
It comes in the scramble to heed what is widely viewed as a loud clamor from voters to slam the brakes on runaway government spending. There has been no corresponding public demand for raising taxes. That’s not surprising, but the top-bracket U.S. tax rate now is the lowest it’s been in decades, and it’s far lower than those in many other industrialized countries, especially in western Europe.