Obama’s Tax Increase Bombshell
“If You Like Obama’s No-Tax Promise…He May Not Keep It”
“White House Budget Director Peter R. Orszag acknowledged, ‘there are additional steps that will be necessary’ [to reduce deficit spending]….Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and White House economic advisor Lawrence H. Summers have both delicately sidestepped the tax question…Orszag has also refused to discuss what steps Obama might take to reduce the deficit in the budget blueprint he will present to Congress in February.”
— The Washington Post, “Tax Pledge Is A Target As Deficits, Debt Grow: Obama Advisers Will Not Rule Out Broad-Based Hike,” August 29, 2009
In announcing the release of updated deficit projections totaling more than $9 trillion over the next decade, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag vowed that next year’s White House budget submission would make deficit reduction a “top priority.” An examination of comments made by senior Administration officials over the past several months demonstrates a clear indication of the main ingredient in any Obama deficit reduction package—job-killing tax increases:
BOB SCHIEFFER: No—no tax increases for middle-income Americans?
LARRY SUMMERS: …There’s a lot—oh, there’s a lot that can happen over time. But the priority right now, and so it’s never a good idea to absolutely rule things—rule things out no matter what.
— Face the Nation, August 2, 2009
TIM GEITHNER: When we have the recovery established…then we have to bring these deficits down very dramatically….And that’s going to require some very hard choices….
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So revenues are on the table, as well?
GEITHNER: Again, we’re not at the point yet where we’re going to make a judgment about what it’s going to take….
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you’re not ruling it out, you can’t rule it out.
GEITHNER: I think what the country needs to do is understand we’re going to have to do what it takes, we’re going to do what’s necessary.
— This Week, August 2, 2009
QUESTION: The President on the campaign said that—he made a flat pledge that he would not raise taxes on anybody making under $250,000. So is that pledge still operable?
ROBERT GIBBS: Well, again, I think in some ways your question is hypothetical because there are any number of different bills, different proposals. I think the President has outlined what he believes is the very best way to pay for health care.
QUESTION: He said, I am not going to raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000. Is that pledge still active?
GIBBS: We are going to let the process work its way through.
— White House press briefing, June 29, 2009
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: That would get—would be a tax increase for many families earning under $250,000. But the president said he was open to it. So that means that the tax pledge he made back in September is no longer operative?
AXELROD: Well, George, first of all, there are a lot of different formulations of that plan….But there are a number of formulations, and we’ll wait and see. The important thing at this point is to keep the process moving, to keep people at the table, to the keep the discussions going. We’ve gotten a long way down the road and we want to finish that journey.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you’re open to tax increases for people under $250,000, that means that the pledge he made last September in Dover is no longer operative.
AXELROD: George, I think the president has made clear the way he feels this should be funded.
— This Week, June 28, 2009
OMB Director Orszag’s comments about an impending deficit reduction package, coupled with comments from senior officials indicating a growing White House consensus about yet more job-killing tax increases, raises additional questions about the Administration’s fiscal priorities—and its candor with the American people about its true intent:
- What exactly is the Administration’s secret plan to reduce the deficit? What kind of tax increases does it include?
- If deficit reduction is such a “top priority,” as OMB Director Orszag claimed, why will the Administration wait months longer before bringing its proposals forward? Is the White House concealing its deficit reduction plans until February to prevent the erosion of yet more support for a $1.6 trillion government takeover of health care that Democrats intend to ram through this year?
- Does the Administration believe that the more than $800 billion in tax increases in House Democrats’ health “reform” legislation (H.R. 3200) are insufficient to finance the full measure of Democrats’ appetite for government spending?
- As the White House’s own budget estimates project an average unemployment rate of 8.6 percent in 2011, why does the Administration seem insistent on proposing new job-killing taxes? How many jobs does the Administration believe its apparent new tax increases will demolish or destroy?
- Given Administration officials’ repeated refusal to re-state President Obama’s campaign pledge that “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,” what faith can the American people place in the President’s health care pledge that “If you like your current plan, you can keep it?”
Given the White House’s apparent legislative strategy—enact a government takeover of health care this year, with additional tax increases to finance new spending next year—many Americans may question how serious the Administration is regarding deficit reduction if it fails to take on exploding government spending—and how badly the struggling economy will be damaged by the new tax increases to pay for it.