John Kartch

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


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


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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


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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

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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


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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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White House economic advisor refuses to rule out a VAT


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, April 20th, 2010, 3:05 PM PERMALINK


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White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee today left the door open to consideration of a value-added tax (VAT) if recommended by the White House deficit commission.
 
Coming a day after White House spokesman Robert Gibbs would only say a VAT is not currently being considered, Goolsbee repeatedly refused to permanently rule out VAT consideration.  The deficit commission is expected to report to the President later this year.
 
The exchange took place on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, with Goolsbee refusing six consecutive opportunities to permanently close the door on a VAT: 
 
MARK HALPERIN: Will the President ever consider tax reform that will involve a VAT? Would he ever consider it?
 
(Refusal #1) GOOLSBEE: Look, we are not, the  report -- and I’m not sure where it came from cause it’s not anything I saw -- was that they were contemplating a VAT, that is not true. We have stood up this bipartisan fiscal commission, which as I understand it is considering a whole bunch of things.
 
              HALPERIN: But would he ever consider..
 
(Refusal #2) GOOLSBEE: He’s going to consider whatever comes out of that fiscal commission.
 
HALPERIN: So if they recommend a VAT, he would consider it?
 
(Refusal #3) GOOLSBEE: I’m not going to get into a linguistic game about it. 
 
HALPERIN: Well it’s not a linguistic game. 
 
(Refusal #4) GOOLSBEE: He’s looking to see what comes out of the fiscal commission. He’s going to look at it.
 
HALPERIN: We had a President for eight years who said ‘no new taxes, we’re not going to raise taxes’. This President said ‘no taxes on the middle class’. Arguably there are taxes in the healthcare bill that will hit the middle class. So again, a VAT would be a big change in America. Would he consider it, if the commission recommends it,  would he consider it?
 
(Refusal #5) GOOLSBEE: As you know, the President cut taxes for 95 percent of the workers in the stimulus. Many many billions of dollars. The President is committed to this bipartisan fiscal commission process and he’s going to seriously consider all the things that they put forward and he’s going to look at them. It doesn’t mean he’s supporting a VAT. We haven’t even contemplated a VAT.
 
HALPERIN: But if they recommend it, it’s not something he’d rule out?
 
(Refusal #6) GOOLSBEE: I’m not going to get into a hypothetical thing about it. He’s committed to a bipartisan fiscal commission. 
 
Goolsbee’s refusal to permanently rule out a VAT may explain President Obama’s recent attempts to alter the terms of his central campaign promise – a promise that no family making less than $250,000 per year would see “any form of tax increase”.
 
Twice in the past ten days, Obama has claimed his pledge applied only to income 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.”

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NYT: Obama's economic team already calculating VAT revenue


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, April 19th, 2010, 4:53 AM PERMALINK


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President Barack Obama’s economic team is already calculating government revenues from a possible Value Added Tax (VAT), according to the New York Times.

Article excerpt:
 
But since any Social Security plan would probably preserve benefits for those nearing retirement, it would not help the administration achieve its goal of reducing the deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product, from 10 percent, within a decade.
 
One way to reach that 3 percent goal, by the calculations of Mr. Obama’s economic team: a 5 percent value-added tax, which would generate enough revenue to simultaneously permit the reduction in corporate tax rates Republicans favor.
 
The reported VAT calculations may explain President Obama’s recent attempts to alter the terms of his central campaign promise – a promise that no family making less than $250,000 per year would see “any form of tax increase”.
 
Twice in the past ten days, Obama has claimed his pledge applied only to income 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.”
 
In the interest of transparency, Americans for Tax Reform respectfully asks President Obama to immediately release the reported VAT calculations or deny such calculations exist.
 

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Obama Attempts to Alter the Terms of his Broken Tax Pledge


Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, April 15th, 2010, 2:19 PM PERMALINK


 
President Barack Obama is now attempting to alter the terms of his central campaign promise – a pledge that families making less than $250,000 per year will not see “any form of tax increase
 
Obama now claims his pledge only applied to income taxes, as evidenced by this excerpt from his most recent weekly radio address
 
“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.”
 
Obama broke his “any form of tax increase” pledge when he signed the healthcare bill, which contained seven tax hikes that unquestionably hit some families making less than $250,000 per year.
 
This is not the first time the White House has attempted to dodge the “any form of tax increase” pledge.
 
On April 1, 2009, when Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press (“Promises, Promises: “Obama Tax Pledge Up in Smoke”) pointed out that Obama’s increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco violated the pledge, White House spokesman Reid H. Cherlin said: 
 
The president's position throughout the campaign was that he would not raise income or payroll taxes on families making less than $250,000, and that's a promise he has kept.”  [Permalink]
 
Compare that to Obama’s central campaign 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]
 
Exactly one year ago, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked if Obama’s pledge applies “to the health care bill”. Gibbs replied:
 
“The statement didn’t come with caveats.”  (White House Briefing) [Transcript]

 

The White House has some explaining to do.

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Moment of Truth for<br> Senate Dems on Obama Tax Pledge


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010, 4:12 PM PERMALINK


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A moment of truth has arrived for Senate Democrats as today they will decide whether or not healthcare reform will continue to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has offered an amendment to HR 4872 which would strip out from healthcare reform any and all tax increases on working families.
 
By signing the healthcare bill into law, President Obama has violated his “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year.
 
As Americans for Tax Reform has pointed out repeatedly, the healthcare bill signed into law contains seven tax hikes that unquestionably violate Obama’s middle class tax pledge.
 
Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has admitted that some Americans making less than $200,000 per year will face tax hikes under ObamaCare. During remarks last night on the Senate floor, Baucus said: 
 
“One other point that I think it’s very important to make is that it is true that in certain cases, the taxes will go up for some Americans who might be making less than $200,000.”
 
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.”
 
“This is the last best chance that Democrat Senators have to repeal Obamacare’s pledge-breaking tax hikes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

 

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Baucus admits ObamaCare breaks Obama tax pledge


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010, 8:59 PM PERMALINK


Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has admitted that some Americans making less than $200,000 per year will face tax hikes under ObamaCare. Such tax hikes are a violation of President Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year.

During remarks tonight on the Senate floor, Baucus said: 
 
“One other point that I think it’s very important to make is that it is true that in certain cases, the taxes will go up for some Americans who might be making less than $200,000.”
 
As Americans for Tax Reform has pointed out repeatedly, the healthcare bill signed into law today contains seven tax hikes that unquestionably violate Obama’s middle class tax pledge.
 
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.” 
 
“Senator Baucus has formally admitted that Barack Obama’s central campaign promise was a lie,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. It would have been nice if Baucus had admitted that Obamacare raises taxes on families making less than $250,000 before the day Obama signed the bill into law.”

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