Despite slashing the national debt by an additional $1.8 trillion over the next decade, President Obama's proposed fiscal year 2014 budget was received with two predictable talking points by Republican leaders. House Majority Eric Cantor, who previously complained about being called a "hostage taker," protested that "we ought to do so without holding [entitlement cuts] hostage for more tax hikes." His fellow debt-ceiling hostage-taker John Boehner echoed that sound bite, proclaiming "I would hope that he would not hold hostage these modest reforms for his demand for bigger tax hikes." But Boehner didn't end there:
"The president got his tax hikes in January; we don't need to be raising taxes on the American people."
Speaker Boehner couldn't be more wrong. As it turns out, Uncle Sam has a well-documented need for more tax revenue in the years ahead. And a big reason why is that between them, Presidents Bush and Obama cut taxes by more than the five times the amount of the combined new revenue hikes Obama got in January and is asking for now.
The chart above tells the tale. Leaving aside the new funding contained in the Affordable Care Act, President Obama is seeking $1.2 trillion in new tax revenue over the next decade. With the fiscal cliff deal in January, Obama got about $620 billion, or about half that amount. Individuals making over $400,000 a year (and households earning over $450,000) will see their income tax rate return to its Clinton-era level of 39.6 percent. The capital gains rate similarly will be reset at 20 (from 15) percent. In his FY 2014 budget proposal, the President has asked for another $580 billion by 2023, primarily by capping deductions for the wealthy at 28 percent, instituting the so-called "Buffett Rule," and ending tax breaks for the booming energy sector.
But Obama's $1.2 trillion in current and requested tax increases pales in comparison to the roughly $6.4 trillion he and George W. Bush will have drained from the U.S. Treasury between 2001 and 2023.