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John Kartch

Norquist to testify before Obama fiscal commission


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010, 1:55 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist will testify before the Obama fiscal commission today between 3 - 4 pm Eastern Time. 

You may watch live below:

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Obamacare's First Pledge-Breaking Tax Hike Takes Effect July 1


Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, June 24th, 2010, 12:48 PM PERMALINK


[PDF Version]

President Barack Obama has some explaining to do.  When he signed the healthcare bill into law, he formally broke his “firm pledge” to the American people that “no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.” 

Among the twenty one tax hikes signed into law as part of Obamacare, at least seven directly break Obama’s central campaign promise.  The first of these tax hikes will take effect on July 1:  the excise tax on indoor tanning services -- a 10 percent tax on the retail price of a tanning session. 

Leaving no stone unturned in their petty hunt for tax revenue, Senate Democrats in December added the tax behind closed doors at the last minute.  There is no exemption made for families making less than $250,000 per year, thus violating Obama’s “firm pledge” to the American people.

Local news coverage from around the country has illustrated the paperwork and cost burden to salon owners, employees, and customers.  The owner of two salons in Virginia has this to say about the new tax:

“It is very emotional to see your dream being literally shattered by someone in Washington.”

Industry estimates from the Indoor Tanning Association show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women.

Obama first broke his tax pledge sixteen days into his presidency when he signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco.  At that time, Obama was rightly called out by Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press in a piece titled “Promises, Promises: Obama Tax Pledge Up in Smoke”

On April 15 of last year, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama’s tax pledge “didn’t come with caveats.”   And to this day, Obama’s promise remains for all to see at the Change.gov website: “no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase.”

Twice during the month of April, however, Obama tried to amend the terms of his “firm pledge” by claiming his promise applies only to “income taxes” rather than “any form of taxes”.

In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:

“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000.  That’s another promise we’ve kept.”

In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:

“And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year -- another promise that we kept.”

Obama’s recent claims stand in stark contrast to his original promise:

“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.” (Dover, NH)  [Transcript] [Video]

What do you say, President Obama?

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Norquist Accepts Obama Fiscal Commission Co-Chair Alan Simpson's Invitation to Testify


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, June 11th, 2010, 1:18 PM PERMALINK


[PDF Version]

Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, the co-chairman of President Obama’s fiscal reform commission, has invited Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist to appear before the commission during its public hearing on the afternoon of June 30.  As reported in National Journal, Simpson said:

"We're notifying everybody in America, if you want to come in, don't come in to bitch. Come in and tell us what you would do to get where we are trying to get. We're going to sit here from 1 (p.m.), grab a sandwich, and go until midnight.I want to particularly ask Grover Norquist, what is it you want to do? Other than just raise money and get members, what have you got in mind to help America proceed, other than say anybody that talks about raising taxes will be cremated and crucified on a stake?"

Norquist accepts the invitation and has submitted application details per the Commission’s website, www.FiscalCommission.gov.

The Commission is formally known as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and will conclude its work no later than December 1.  Simpson serves as co-chairman along with Erskine Bowles, Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton.  Bruce Reed, Chief Domestic Policy Adviser to President Clinton, serves as Executive Director.

The full list of Commissioners is as follows:


Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.)

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.)

Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.)

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)

David Cote, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell International

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.)

Ann Fudge, Former CEO, Young & Rubicam Brands

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.)

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)

Alice Rivlin, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute and former Director, Office of Management & Budget

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.)

Andrew Stern, former President, Service Employees International Union

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30 Days from Today: Obamacare's First Pledge-Breaking Tax Hike Takes Effect


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 2:27 PM PERMALINK


[PDF Version]

When President Barack Obama signed the healthcare bill into law, he formally broke his “firm pledge” to the American people that “no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.” 

Among the twenty one tax hikes signed into law as part of Obamacare, at least seven directly break Obama’s central campaign promise.  The first of these tax hikes will take effect on July 1:  the excise tax on indoor tanning services -- a 10 percent tax on the retail price of a tanning session. 

Leaving no stone unturned in their petty, vindictive hunt for tax revenue, Obama and his congressional allies expect the tax to raise $2.7 billion over ten years.  There is no exemption made for families making less than $250,000 per year.

On April 15 of last year, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama’s tax pledge “didn’t come with caveats.”   And to this day, Obama’s promise remains for all to see at the Change.gov website: “no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase.”

Twice during the month of April, however, Obama tried to amend the terms of his “firm pledge” by claiming his promise applies only to “income taxes” rather than “any form of taxes”.

In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:

“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000.  That’s another promise we’ve kept.”

In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:

“And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year -- another promise that we kept.”

Obama’s recent claims stand in stark contrast to his original promise:

“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.” (Dover, NH)  [Transcript] [Video]

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Peter Orszag: Obama's "firm pledge" on taxes is just a "preference" or "stance"


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, May 14th, 2010, 1:57 PM PERMALINK


[PDF Version]

On April 27, President Obama issued a warning to anyone thinking about asking him about his “firm pledge” not to raise any form of taxes on those making less than $250,000:  if you ask about his pledge, you are playing “an old Washington game”.

Facing questions about Obama’s “firm pledge” on Wednesday, White House Budget Director Peter Orszag followed the example of his boss by characterizing questions about tax hikes on the middle class as a “game” and described Obama’s tax pledge as merely a “preference” or a “stance”.

Compare Obama’s original promise to Orszag’s comments:

“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.”– Candidate Barack Obama [Transcript] [Video]

“The president has been very clear about what he prefers.  That was his stance during the campaign, and he still believes that’s the right course forward. But he has also been very clear that we shall let the commission go do its work.” – Peter Orszag

Last year, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the pledge “didn’t come with caveats.” 

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President of the United States uses the term "Tea-baggers"


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, May 4th, 2010, 12:24 PM PERMALINK


[PDF Version]

President Barack Obama, known for his lectures to others on civility, saw fit to use the obscene and derogatory term “tea-baggers” in a book interview with author Jonathan Alter.

Below is an excerpt from Alter’s new book The Promise: President Obama, Year One, to be released May 18:

Obama said that the unanimous House vote against the Recovery Act ‘set the tenor for the whole year’: ‘That helped to create the tea-baggers and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party to where it now controls the agenda for the Republicans.’  For Obama this was the greatest surprise of 2009.

“It is insulting to have him lecture on civility while being the least civil participant,”said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  “Obama, get out of the gutter, wash your mouth out with soap and grow up.  Obama is acting like a teenager -- trying to be funny by using foul language and sexual innuendo.  Pre-teens think that is funny.  Adults do not.”

The revelation of Obama’s use of the term “tea-baggers” comes within a few days of his oft-cited May 1 commencement speech at the University of Michigan.

Obama bemoans name-calling…

“We've got politicians calling each other all sorts of unflattering names.”

…but what name does he use?

            “Tea-baggers”

Obama calls for basic civility…

“Now, the second way to keep our democracy healthy is to maintain a basic level of civility in our public debate.”

…but is the use of this term civil?

            “Tea-baggers”

Obama laments the demonizing of political opponents…

“We can't expect to solve our problems if all we do is tear each other down.  You can disagree with a certain policy without demonizing the person who espouses it.”

…but has no problem doing it himself:

            “Tea-baggers”

Obama reminds others of the Golden Rule…

“So what do we do? As I found out after a year in the White House, changing this type of politics is not easy. And part of what civility requires is that we recall the simple lesson most of us learned from our parents: Treat others as you would like to be treated, with courtesy and respect.”

…but his version of civility:

            “Tea-baggers”

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Obama: Asking About My Tax Pledge is a "Washington Game"


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010, 11:25 AM PERMALINK


[PDF Version]

Consider yourself warned:  Americans should not ask President Obama about his “firm pledge” not to raise any form of taxes on families making less than $250,000.  Anyone asking such a question is just playing a “Washington game”. 

So says President Obama, anyway.  In his remarks introducing the debt commission today, Obama said the following:

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  It’s important that we not restrict the review or the recommendations that this commission comes up with in any way.  Everything has to be on the table.  And I just met briefly with the commission and said the same thing to them.  Of course this means that all of you, our friends in the media, will ask me and others once a week, or once a day, about what we are willing to rule out or rule in when it comes to the recommendations of the commission.  That’s an old Washington game…so I wanted to deliver this message today: we’re not playing that game.  I’m not gonna say what’s in, I’m not gonna say what’s out.

Obama’s “everything has to be on the table” mantra directly contradicts his central campaign promise that no family making less than $250,000 will see any form of tax increase. 

Obama’s refusal today to rule out tax hikes on families making less than $250,000 per year may explainhis recent attempts to alter the terms of his central campaign promise.  Twice this month, Obama has claimed his middle class tax pledge only applied to “income taxes” rather than “any form of taxes”. 

In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:

“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000.  That’s another promise we’ve kept.”

In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:

“And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year -- another promise that we kept.”

The two recent statements stand in stark contrast to Obama’s original promise:

“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.”(Dover, NH)  [Transcript] [Video]

Last year, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the pledge “didn’t come with caveats.”

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Obama to debt commission: Feel free to break my tax pledge


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, April 26th, 2010, 12:59 PM PERMALINK


[PDF Version]

During his campaign, President Obama made a “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year.  White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has said the pledge “didn’t come with caveats.”  

Yet President Obama told the leaders of his debt commission that “everything is on the table”.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, debt commission co-chairman Erskine Bowles had the following exchange with host Chris Wallace:

CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR:  Mr. Bowles, Barack Obama — I don't have to tell you — campaigned in 2008 for president on a flat pledge that he would not raise any taxes — not income taxes, not any taxes — on people making less than $250,000 a year. Do you feel bound by the president's pledge?

ERSKINE BOWLES, DEBT COMMISSION CO-CHAIRMAN:What I feel bound by is the president looked Senator Simpson and me in the eye and he said, everything is on the table.

Bowles also refused to rule out a Value-Added Tax.  The Bowles statements may explain Obama’s recent attempts to alter the terms of his central campaign promise.  Twice this month, Obama has claimed his middle class tax pledge only applied to “income taxes” rather than “any form of taxes”. 

In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:

“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000.  That’s another promise we’ve kept.”

In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:

“And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year -- another promise that we kept.”

The two recent statements stand in stark contrast to Obama’s original promise:

“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.”(Dover, NH)  [Transcript] [Video]
 

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President on taxes: I had hoped to invest in your future..without asking more of you..but I can't


Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010, 4:41 PM PERMALINK


“I had hoped to invest in your future by creating jobs, expanding education, reforming healthcare and reducing the debt without asking more of you. And I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life to meet that goal. But I can’t, because the deficit has increased so much, beyond my earlier estimates and beyond even the worst official government estimates from last year.”

-- President Bill Clinton, Feb. 15, 1993 [Video clip]
  
“I believe that we should be able to make sure that we don’t burden middle class families further. Having said that, I am also going to wait for the fiscal commission to provide me what their best recommendations are.”
                
-- President Barack Obama, April 21, 2010 [Video clip

[PDF Version]
 

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Obama floats a VAT: <br> Admission explains attempt to alter tax pledge


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010, 8:07 PM PERMALINK


[PDF Version]

President Obama made it official today : He is open to the imposition of a Value-Added Tax (VAT) on the American people. A VAT would violate Obama’s central campaign promise – a “firm pledge” that no family making less than $250,000 per year would see “any form of tax increase”.
 

Obama’s admission came during an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood. Asked if he could see the potential for a VAT, the President said:
 
"I know that there's been a lot of talk around town lately about the value-added tax. That is something that has worked for some countries. It's something that would be novel for the United States. And before, you know, I start saying 'this makes sense or that makes sense,' I want to get a better picture of what our options are.”

Obama’s VAT admission may explain his recent attempts to alter the terms of his central campaign promise. Twice in the past two weeks, Obama has claimed his middle class tax pledge only applied to income taxes rather than “any form of taxes”. 
 
In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:
 
“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000.  That’s another promise we’ve kept.”
 
In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:
 
“And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year -- another promise that we kept.”
 
The two recent statements stand in stark contrast to Obama’s original promise:
 
“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.” (Dover, NH) [Transcript] [Video]
 
The Obama VAT admission also comes the day after White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee refused six consecutive opportunities to permanently close the door on a VAT and two days after White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said a VAT “is not something the President has proposed nor is it under consideration.”

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