Ralph Reed on the budget deficit and fiscal cliff

Ralph Reed, chairman of the national Faith & Freedom Coalition, addresses the Faith and Freedom Coalition June 3, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

CORRECTION:The photo caption of the article originally misstated Ralph Reed's position at the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Reed is the chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. The caption has been corrected.

Here's the latest in the ever-shifting fiscal cliff talks: Negotiators for the president and House Speaker John Boehner are stuck somewhere between $400,000 and $1 million -- in terms of the income level above which taxes would rise.

The temporary break in the payroll tax many of us have enjoyed the last couple years seems likely to disappear. Both sides appear to agree on letting capital gains and dividend taxes go up to at least 20 percent. All this will get us some modest distance toward addressing the U.S. budget deficit.

On the revenue side, some treasured tax breaks are coming in for close scrutiny, and one of the country's leading social conservatives is weighing in on the matter. Ralph Reed became the first executive director of the Christian Coalition in 1989. Today he is chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. In particular, Reed wants to protect the $1000 per child tax credit and the charitable tax deduction

"There are 50 million people in America everyday who are touched directly by a charity," says Reed. "We believe that those charities can do a better job of meeting the needs of the poor and the needy than the government."

Reed notes that reducing deductions and increasing taxes, such as the proposed income tax hike on the wealthy, will only get make a small dent in the government's overall budget shortfall. In order to get the country's fiscal house in order, he believes we will need to see "a long downward arc" in the size of the federal government. 

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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