Taxes, as a share of GDP, are lower than the postwar average by a percentage point or two. Spending, as a share of GDP is close to FIVE percent higher than the postwar average.
It was always bad politics to sign Grover Norquist's pledge. You never want your politicians to lack the flexibility to negotiate and horse trade. That's how things get done in politics, and Norquist and the Tea Partiers don't seem politically savvy enough yet to understand that.
However, the Democrats are further from the truth than the Republicans. The Democrats wrongly believe that the solution to the deficit can be found exclusively in higher taxes. Tax hikes have the problem of diminishing returns as rates rise. We need a deficit solution that raises taxes back to the postwar norm of 18% of GDP, but we need it as a political compromise. The other side is that spending must come DOWN to 18%, not merely it's postwar norm of 20%. Further, we need entitlement reform in order to keep spending from SKYROCKETING in coming decades.