It's easy to make the mistake that the presidential election involves a contest between a candidate who promises to raise taxes and one who promises not to. \(Read more: The Facts Behind the Convention Speeches\)
It certainly seems that way sometimes.
But the reality is that both Obama and Romney are promising tax hikes, at least in the long term—even if they don't call it that.
Keith Hennessey has put together a useful cheat sheet for the long-term tax plans floating around out there:
• Over the past 50 years federal taxes have averaged 18 percent of GDP.
• Governor Romney proposes taxes “between 18 and 19 percent” of GDP.
• The House-passed (“Ryan”) budget proposes long-term taxes of 19 percent of GDP.
• President Obama’s budget proposes long-term taxes at 20 percent of GDP.*
• The Bowles-Simpson plan proposes long-term taxes at 21 percent of GDP.
*(Obama gets an asterisk because he hasn't really proposed a long-term fiscal policy plan.)
There's no one, unfortunately, actually taking the position that the government is taxing too much—not in rhetoric, but in actions. Maybe it will take another decade of economic malaise for us to learn this lesson. (Read more: Economist Sees No-Growth Decade Looming)
- by CNBC.com senior editor John Carney
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