“Over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren’t paid for, as a consequence of tax cuts that weren’t paid for, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about 10 percent of this increase in the deficit, and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially lower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush.”

“Taxes are lower on families than they’ve been probably in the last 50 years. So I haven’t raised taxes.”

–President Obama, interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” recorded on Sept. 12, 2012, and aired on Sept. 23

There are a lot of numbers and assertions in these statements by the president. We will primarily focus on the first statement, since it raises interesting questions of presidential responsibility.

But we do want to note the tax statement, since we seem to have a rare moment when Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney appear to agree. Here’s what Romney said on Tuesday: “I admit this, he has one thing he did not do in his first four years, he’s said he’s going to do in his next four years, which is to raise taxes.”

Generally, Republicans have argued (and the Supreme Court agreed) that Obama’s health insurance mandate is a tax. The health care law also included a number of taxes aimed mostly at the wealthy. But broadly speaking, Obama has reduced taxes for most Americans, so much so that the Congressional Budget Office says that effective tax rates are at their lowest point in three decades.

Continue reading on www.washingtonpost.com

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