What's at stake in the 2012 presidential election

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Taxes
Almost every U.S. taxpayer faces a significant tax increase next year, unless Congress and the White House agree on a plan to extend a huge collection of tax cuts expiring at the end of the year.

And there's a huge debate over how to overhaul the tax code to make it simpler, with lower rates balanced by fewer deductions.

Obama wants to extend Bush-era tax cuts again, but only for individuals making less than $200,000 and married couples making less than $250,000.

Romney wants to extend all those tax cuts and enact new ones, dropping all income tax rates by 20 percent. Romney says he would pay for that by eliminating or reducing tax credits, deductions and exemptions. But he won't say which ones would go.

Most lawmakers want a simpler tax code, but millions count on the mortgage interest deduction, child tax credit and more, making progress all but impossible.