Obama says that a National Sales Tax is worth considering
President Barack Obama suggested Wednesday that a new value-added tax on Americans is still on the table, seeming to show more openness to the idea than his aides have expressed in recent days.
Before deciding what revenue options are best for dealing with the deficit and the economy, Obama said in an interview with CNBC, "I want to get a better picture of what our options are."
After Obama adviser Paul Volcker recently raised the prospect of a value-added tax, or VAT, the Senate voted 85-13 last week for a nonbinding "sense of the Senate" resolution that calls the such a tax "a massive tax increase that will cripple families on fixed income and only further push back America's economic recovery."
For days, White House spokesmen have said the president has not proposed and is not considering a VAT.
"I think I directly answered this the other day by saying that it wasn't something that the president had under consideration," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters shortly before Obama spoke with CNBC.
After the interview, White House deputy communications director Jen Psaki said nothing has changed and the White House is "not considering" a VAT. . . .
How about this headline: "Millions face tax increases under Dems budget plan."
President Barack Obama's Democratic allies in the Senate promise to cut the deficit by almost two-thirds over the next five years, but their budget plan could threaten about 30 million people with tax increases averaging $3,700 in 2012 and after because of the alternative minimum tax.
The alternative is tax increases elsewhere in the revenue code averaging up to $100 billion a year after 2011 to continue alternative minimum tax relief and also curb taxes on people inheriting large estates.
The Democratic plan released Wednesday by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad of North Dakota relies on such boosts in revenues to carve the deficit from $1.4 trillion last year down to $545 billion by 2015.
The minimum tax, or AMT, was enacted four decades ago to make sure wealthy people couldn't avoid taxes altogethe. But it wasn't indexed for inflation in people's incomes, so it gets "patched" every year or so in order to prevent people from being surprised by multi-thousand-dollar tax bills at tax time.
Estates larger than $7 million would also be threatened with higher taxes after 2011 if Conrad's plan is carried out.
Conrad says lawmakers will have to find revenues elsewhere in the budget to pay for AMT and estate tax relief after 2011, which could require tax increases averaging up to $100 billion a year elsewhere in the code if Congress is going to keep its promises under tough new budget rules. . . .
Gregg said the Democratic plan is "a budget that kicks the can down the road. More spending. More deficits. More debt. Less prosperity." . . .