Deepening federal budget deficits indicate that one component of the federal budget baseline—either spending or revenue—is out of alignment. Closer inspection reveals that spending is the root cause, but both spending and revenue deserve equal treatment in policy discussions about reducing debt and deficits.

Often, however, Members of Congress and others influencing policy simply tout the need for more revenue as it suits their spending policy aims. A prime example of this tendency comes up in assertions about extending the 2001 and 2003 tax relief packages.

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