DES MOINES, Iowa — Democratic presidential hopeful Bruce Babbitt said today that he would raise $40 billion to cut the U.S. budget deficit by imposing a federal sales or consumption tax of about 5%.
The former Arizona governor admitted that the call for a tax increase was politically risky and likely to draw fire from his competitors.
But he said he hoped the proposal would put an end to the "spirit of evasion" that is dominating the campaigns of other Democratic candidates.
"The candidates are all walking around this budget deficit, talking in code language and evading the issue," Babbit said during the taping of a local television show.
"If we are really serious about this budget deficit and really believe in America . . . it requires both cuts and more revenues."
Babbitt said he would make the consumption tax progressive by exempting "things like food, medicine, perhaps even housing."