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Republican leaders in the House and Senate have threatened to allow the U.S. to default on its debt obligations unless the President agrees to cut trillions from public services to reduce the budget deficit.

The federal budget deficit is a problem, but the timing and method of the GOP leaders approach are potentially disastrous. Deficit reduction should be timed to occur largely after we have recovered from the recession so that there is enough private spending and investment taking place to partially offset cuts in public spending.

The method of deficit reduction is even more critical. Republican leaders have insisted that we reduce the deficit entirely by cutting spending and not by raising tax revenue. This is illogical because clearly raising a dollar of taxes has the same effect on the deficit as cutting spending by one dollar.

Even more importantly, the U.S. is one of the least taxed countries in the industrial world, as explained in a report released last week by Citizens for Tax Justice. The report finds that all the other OECD nations except Chile and Mexico have higher taxes as a percentage of GDP than the U.S. The U.S. is clearly undertaxed and a revenue increase is the obvious answer to our deficit problem.

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