President Obama’s tax-raising plans have passed the point of no return. So much for his pledge not to raise taxes on working people.
“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” That is what Barack Obama promised the American people when he was asking for our votes during his 2008 election campaign. Not just this one time, but over and over throughout the campaign. You could ask Joe the Plumber.
Truly, this pledge was the centerpiece of his 2008 election success. I remember during one Presidential debate, Obama hotly disputed McCain’s charge that Obama would run up spending so much that he would inevitably bury voters with tax increases. Obama responded by reiterating the above no tax increase pledge, and insisted further that for those making less than $200,000 per year, “your taxes will go down,” emphasizing the point with a downward sweeping motion of his arm.
But after only one year in office, in a shocking Business Week interview on February 9, President Obama cavalierly dismissed these core campaign pledges. In response to a question asking, “If your deficit commission comes back and says we would recommend raising taxes on households earning less than $250,000 a year, would you accept that as part of a larger deal?” President Obama said,
“I don’t want to prejudge the commission because the whole point of it is to make sure that all ideas are on the table, and let’s see what folks can come up with. What I want to do is to be completely agnostic in terms of solutions.”
Looks to me like President Obama owes John McCain an apology. If Obama was being honest back during that 2008 debate, he would have responded to McCain’s tax increase charge by saying what he said on February 9, that “I want to make sure that all ideas are on the table, and let’s see what folks can come up with,” and that he was “completely agnostic” regarding a tax increase on working people.
After all, it is not like America’s overwhelming long-term deficit problem is a new surprise to Obama. He knew perfectly well back in 2008 what he also told Business Week on February 9: “[T]he fact of the matter is that we have a structural deficit that is in place that was there before the recession…And that is going to require some big, tough choices that, so far, the political system has been unable to deal with.”
Included in that political system unable to deal with those necessary big, tough choices is President Obama, who greatly exacerbated the deficit problem with his nearly $1 trillion, failed “stimulus” package just a year ago, followed just a few weeks later by the $400 billion omnibus spending bill, followed by his budget providing for an 18% increase in total federal spending in just one year, and for a one-third increase in federal welfare spending over two years. After those big, tough choices, with the “stimulus” money mostly flowing in this election year to try to buy votes, President Obama is now “agnostic” on tax increases on working people. Isn’t this exactly what John McCain said would happen?
And while Obama is issuing apologies, he should also apologize to Senator McCain for his less than honest mischaracterization of McCain’s proposal to extend tax credits for the purchase of health insurance to everyone, which Obama indignantly denounced as involving unprecedented taxation of employee health insurance. Such taxation is exactly what President Obama has now proposed in his government health care takeover plan earlier this week, also in violation of his pledge of no tax increases on working people.
The Presidential Commission to Raise Your Taxes
“The whole point” of President Obama’s Commission is precisely to obtain political cover to abandon his central 2008 campaign pledge not to raise taxes on working people. He can then say that it wasn’t his idea. The “experts” on the Commission made him do it, right after he says the tax increase is actually really Bush’s fault.
None of the rest of us should let him get away with that garbage. If President Obama endorses a Commission proposal to raise taxes on working people in violation of his campaign pledge, I will be persistently pestering conservative, free market, and Republican leaders to join me in calling on him to resign. It is just too much of an abuse of voters and our democracy for a candidate to run for President promising so centrally to cut, rather than increase, taxes on working people, sneering at anyone who suggests anything to the contrary, and then to lead a crusade to do just the opposite once elected. If President Obama believes what he said in that Business Week interview, then he should have to resign and run again on what he actually believes, to maintain the basic integrity of our democracy.
Obama further clarifies the tax increase intent behind the Commission in saying, as quoted by the New York Post on February 12, “The notion that somehow we can just cut our way out of this problem is not true.” Translation: he has already decided to break his pledge with a wicked tax increase. What is likely coming is a proposal for a Value Added Tax (VAT) as is widespread in Europe, where the tax is incorporated in the price of everything you buy. Far Left House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already endorsed that barnburner burden on working people. They know that between the Obama/Democrat budget and the health takeover bill they are already trying to squeeze more out of “the rich” than they can get.
The intent behind the Commission is further revealed by the Washington establishment figures President Obama appointed to head it, former Clinton White House insider Erskine Bowles, and retired Senator Alan Simpson, author of the failed 1986 immigration amnesty plan. Transparently, they will follow the shopworn establishment methodology for balancing the budget, which never works, and has no prayer of ever working.
That is for a convocation of wise, establishment, graybeards like the Commission to solemnly bargain over competing lists of spending cuts and tax increases, and come to some deal. The tax increases are then adopted permanently. But the spending cuts are never adopted, or if they are they are soon swept away in the next liberal budget.
Then the tax increases don’t raise the revenue expected, because no one in establishment Washington can imagine that tax increases have negative incentive effects that reduce the expected revenue increases. So the deficit reappears, and continues until the voters can be fooled by the whole charade again. We have seen this over and over at the state level, as well as at the federal level.
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