Obama administration already calculating VAT revenue
One question is timing. With a 2010 deficit topping $1 trillion, advisers like Timothy F. Geithner, below, the Treasury secretary, and Peter R. Orzsag, the budget director, favor bold steps in 2011 to demonstrate fiscal discipline.
A more aggressive approach would seek quick action on Social Security.
But since any Social Security plan would probably preserve benefits for those nearing retirement, it would not help the administration achieve its goal of reducing the deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product, from 10 percent, within a decade.
One way to reach that 3 percent goal, by the calculations of Mr. Obama’s economic team: a 5 percent value-added tax, which would generate enough revenue to simultaneously permit the reduction in corporate tax rates Republicans favor.