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Analysis: Looming ‘largest tax hike’ ever, isn’t
Fact check » GOP claims about expiring tax cuts don’t withstand history test, nonpartisan study says.

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By comparison, next year’s potential tax hike would increase federal revenues by 16 percent, according to CBO.

At a glance


The Treasury paper on major tax bills since 1940 is at http://tinyurl.com/65r8f84.

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Fact check, Part II » Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gives the claim a different twist, applying it to Obama’s budget proposal for next year. "Rapidly rising federal spending and debt threatens our economic future, and the president has responded by proposing the largest tax increase in history," Romney said in a Feb. 22 release.

That’s an even bigger exaggeration.

Obama’s budget proposal would represent one of the largest tax increases since World War II, if you count letting the payroll tax cut expire as a tax increase. But again, it wouldn’t be the largest ever. Obama’s 2013 budget proposal mixes tax cuts designed to improve the economy with long-term tax increases aimed at reducing the federal budget deficit.

Obama has proposed extending Bush-era tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 and ending them for families that make more. He would end tax breaks for oil and gas companies but make permanent the research and development tax credit.

In 2013, Obama’s budget proposal would increase tax revenue by $195 billion over current policy — if you include the tax increase from letting the payroll tax cut expire. The tax increase would represent 1.2 percent of GDP. Or, measured a different way, it would increase tax revenue by 7 percent.

That would rank as the fourth-largest tax increase since World War II, behind tax hikes enacted in 1950, 1951 and 1968, according to the Treasury Department paper.

Further dousing Romney’s claim, House Republicans have passed a budget for next year — which Romney has embraced — that would raise just $7 billion less in taxes than Obama’s budget in 2013. That’s the equivalent of a rounding error, when you’re talking about revenues of $2.7 trillion.

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