Fiscal Cliff Debate: Is There a Clever Way to Raise Revenue Without Increasing Taxes?

The fiscal cliff will be the talk of the table over Thanksgiving as policymakers retire for a holiday after an ostensibly productive first week of discussions. Democrats have opened up to putting entitlement cuts on the table, while Republicans are willing to evaluate new revenue streams.

The big hang-up is exactly how those revenues will be collected. The GOP is steadfast in its resolve to not raise taxes, but the sentiment is less clear on ending tax breaks. Clever workarounds to the anti-tax hike ideology include strategies like ending loopholes and limiting deductions for charitable giving, but as President Barack Obama is a fan of saying, the math might not add up.

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The individual tax rate is what matters to most Americans, but both parties agree that the bottom 98 percent of earners should not see their taxes increase. Walking away from the debate about what the appropriate tax rate should be for the top 2 percent of income earners may be difficult in such politically charged times, but many policymakers are doing just that and examining more unconventional methods of increasing revenue while not blatantly increasing taxes.

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