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John Kartch

President Barack Obama: Comprehensive Taxpayer Timeline


Posted by John Kartch on Friday, May 29th, 2009, 12:00 PM PERMALINK


Below is Americans for Tax Reform’s (ATR) comprehensive taxpayer timeline of the presidency of Barack Obama.  It will be updated frequently:
 
Day 1 -- January 20: In his Inaugural address, President Obama makes a noteworthy commitment to the American taxpayer:
 
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.  Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward.  Where the answer is no, programs will end.  And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.”
 
Day 7 -- January 26: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is sworn in by Obama despite having owed more than $40,000 in back taxes and interest.
 
Day 10 -- January 30: After a long career working and voting FOR tax increases and working and voting AGAINST tax cuts, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) nominee Tom Daschle is first reported to have paid over $100,000 in back taxes. 
 
“Make no mistake: Tax cheaters cheat us all. And the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter.” (Sen. Tom Daschle speaking on the Senate floor on May 7, 1998)
 
Day 13 -- Feb. 1:  The European Union warned the US of serious ramifications, including an international trade war, if the President pursued a “Buy American Policy”.
 
Day 14 -- February 2: In order to ensure “What happens in Chicago, stays in Chicago” by preventing corruption and kickbacks arising from the “stimulus” bill, ATR asks each Member of Congress planning to vote for the bill to sign a statement promising that they, their family, and the members of their staff will not personally benefit from the bill. All refuse.

Day 15 -- February 3: Tom Daschle withdraws his nomination due to tax problems. 
 
Chief Performance Officer-designate Nancy Killefer withdraws her nomination due to tax problems.
 
Day 16 -- February 4: On the sixteenth day of his presidency, Obama breaks one of the central promises of his campaign by singing into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61 cents per pack, which took effect on April 1. Obama promised repeatedly on the campaign trail that he would never raise any form of taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year, for example:
 
“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 (September 12, 2008, Dover, NH)
 
"No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama's plan will see one single penny of their tax raised," Joe Biden said, "whether it's their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax."(Joe Biden, Oct. 3, 2008, Vice Presidential Debate, St. Louis, MO)
 
The tax increase falls squarely on the shoulders of the middle- and low-income Americans Obama said he would not raise taxes on: 55 percent of smokers are “working poor”, one in four smokers live below the poverty line, and on average, smokers, whose median income is a little more than $36,000 make about 30 percent less than non-smokers.
 
Day 21 -- February 9:   Calling for a massive government spending program under the guise of “stimulus” Obama holds his first press conference and fails to provide a single historical example where a government increased spending which led to increased jobs, income, and wealth on any sustainable basis. 
 
Obama also has the audacity to claim the “stimulus” plan is free of pet projects and earmarks:
 
“What it does not contain, however, is a single pet project, not a single earmark, and it has been stripped of the projects members of both parties found most objectionable.”
 
Responding to a reporter’s question as to what specific metric the American people should use to determine whether Obama’s programs are working, Obama replies:
 
“I think my initial measure of success is creating or saving 4 million jobs.” 
 
(How, exactly, does one measure a “saved” job? See March 4 for details)
 
Obama promises that the next day “Tim Geithner will be announcing some very clear and specific plans for how we are going to start loosening up credit once again.”
 
Day 22 -- February 10: Instead of offering specifics in his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, Geithner issues vague statements and echoes FDR’s economically paralyzing “bold, persistent experimentation” philosophy: 
 
“We will have to adapt our program as conditions change. We will have to try things we’ve never tried before. We will make mistakes. We will go through periods in which things get worse and progress is uneven or interrupted.”
 
The Dow falls 380 points.
 
Day 23 – February 11: Obama speaks to employees of heavy-machinery manufacturer Caterpillar, claiming that the “stimulus” bill would allow the company to hire back many of the employees it had previously laid off.
 
Day 24 -- February 12: The day after Obama tells Caterpillar workers the “stimulus” will save their jobs, the company’s CEO James Owen states “The honest reality is we're probably going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again.”
 
Sometime around 10:00 PM: The “Stimulus” conference report is completed behind closed doors. Less than sixteen hours pass before the bill is taken up by the House.
 
Day 25 -- Friday, February 13:
 
2:24 PM: With not a single Member voting for the bill having claimed to have actually read it, the House passes the conference report for H.R.1, the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009”. 
 
5:29 PM: With not a single Member voting for the bill having claimed to have actually read it, the Senate passes the conference report for H.R. 1. 
 
Day 29 -- February 17: Obama signs the “Stimulus” bill and violates his transparency pledge to the American people that he will allow legislation to be posted online for five full days before signing it. 
 
“No more secrecy. … when there's a bill that ends up on my desk as president, you, the American voter, will have five days to look online and find out what it is before I sign it, so that you know what your government's doing.”
(June 22, 2007. Manchester, New Hampshire)
 
The below is copied directly from the Ethics section of BarackObama.com:
 
Sunlight Before Signing:  Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.
 
Obama also breaks his spending promise:
 
“So we’re going to have to make some investments but we’ve also got to make spending cuts, and what I’ve proposed -- you’ll hear Senator McCain say ‘he’s proposing a whole bunch of new spending’ -- but, actually, I’m cutting more than I’m spending.  So that it will be a net spending cut.”  (Oct. 7, 2008. Second Presidential Debate, Nashville, TN)
 
The “stimulus” still includes “Buy American” protectionist language. U.S. cities and some states aren’t obligated to follow the rules of the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
 
"I agree that we can't send a protectionist message," Obama said in an interview earlier in the month.
 
Day 36 -- February 24: Obama makes his first address to a joint session of Congress and claims he doesn’t believe in “bigger government”:
 
“As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President’s Day that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets, not because I believe in bigger government -- I don't -- not because I'm not mindful of the massive debt we've inherited -- I am.” 
 
Obama again has the audacity to claim the “stimulus” bill contained no earmarks:
 
“Now, I'm proud that we passed a recovery plan free of earmarks, and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities.”
 
Day 38 -- February 26: Obama releaseshis budget outline which raises taxes on individuals, employers both large and small, and shareholders -- while eliminating several energy tax credits. 
 
The budget also calls for a “cap and trade” regime, making an absolute mockery of Obama’s central campaign promise not to raise any form of taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year.
 
Obama also shatters his campaign promise to enact net spending cuts during his administration:
 
“So we’re going to have to make some investments but we’ve also got to make spending cuts, and what I’ve proposed -- you’ll hear Senator McCain say ‘he’s proposing a whole bunch of new spending’ -- but, actually, I’m cutting more than I’m spending.  So that it will be a net spending cut.”  (Oct. 7, 2008. Second Presidential Debate, Nashville, TN)
 
(The Obama FY 2009 budget increases federal spending to 28.5% of GDP, a post World War II high.)
 
Day 41 -- March 1: The Obama administration foreshadows another broken promise when Peter Orszag, appearing on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, claims the 8,000 earmarks in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 are “last year’s business. We just need to move on.” The statement by Orszag in not consistent with Obama’s campaign promise made in the first presidential debate:
 
“And, absolutely, we need earmark reform. And when I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.” (Sept. 26, 2008. First Presidential Debate, Oxford, Miss.)
 
Day 43 -- March 3: Obama compares the stock market to a political daily tracking poll:
 
"The stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics. It bobs up and down day-to-day," Obama said. "And if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you're probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong."
 
Day 44 -- March 4: While testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, Secretary Geithner is challenged by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) as to the invention by the Obama administration of a new metric – “creating or saving” jobs – the very same metric Obama claimed on Feb. 9 is the most important measure of success:
SEN: JOHN ENSIGN: "You created a situation where you cannot be wrong. If the economy loses 2 million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would've lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs," Ensign said. "You've given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct."
CNN visits the site of the first “stimulus” dollars to hit the ground: An $8.5 million bridge near the town of Tuscumbia, Missouri – population 223.
 
Day 45 -- March 5: Testifying before the House Budget Committee, Secretary Geithner concedes Obama’s budget raises taxes on small businesses, but focuses on a meaningless metric: The percentage of small businesses affected rather than the fact that two-thirds of small business profits will be subject to higher taxation.
 
Day 46 – March 6: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment rate rose from 7.6% to 8.1%, and the economy shed 651,000 jobs in the month of February.
 
Day 51 -- March 11: Obama signs HR 1105, the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, a $410 billion piece of legislation containing over 8,000 earmarks. By signing the bill, Obama breaks at least three of his most important campaign promises:
  1. Transparency -- Obama promised to post passed legislation online for five full days before signing it.  Obama signed the Omnibus spending bill less than a day after he received it from Congress.
“When there is a bill that ends up on my desk as President, you, the American voter, will have five days to look online and find out what it is before I sign it.
(June 22, 2007. Manchester, New Hampshire)
  1. Overall spending – Obama promised to enact net spending cuts as President.  The Omnibus bill is more than 8 percent higher than 2008 spending levels.
“So we’re going to have to make some investments but we’ve also got to make spending cuts, and what I’ve proposed -- you’ll hear Senator McCain say ‘he’s proposing a whole bunch of new spending’ --but, actually, I’m cutting more than I’m spending.  So that it will be a net spending cut.” 
(Oct. 7, 2008. Second Presidential Debate, Nashville, TN)
  1. Wasteful spending – Obama promised to “go line by line” to make sure taxpayer money was not wasted.  Among the questionable spending in the Omnibus bill is an earmark which sticks taxpayers with a $200,000 tab for a tattoo removal program in California.
“And, absolutely, we need earmark reform. And when I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely.” (Sept. 26, 2008. First Presidential Debate, Oxford, Miss.)
 
Day 52 -- March 12: While testifying before the Senate Budget Committee, Treasury Secretary Geithner acknowledges tax increases “hurt growth” – then proceeded to duck questions as to whether President Obama’s planned tax hikes would go into effect in 2011 regardless of the condition of the economy:
 
SEN. MIKE CRAPO, R-Idaho:   “You say that the tax increases will only happen when the economy has recovered.  I understand that a lot of economists are saying we are going to be recovered by 2011.   Frankly I think there are economists who are saying maybe our recovery will not be so strong by then.  My question to you is, are these tax increases contingent on a recovery or are they going to happen regardless of what happens in 2011?”
 
SEC. GEITHNER:  “Senator, I think it is a very important question.  I think, again, we need to lay out an ambitious path for bringing those deficits down, commit to achieving that with a mix of measures on the resource side and the spending side to do the best possible job of leaving our economy stronger, and that’s what the President’s budget tries to do.  Now of course we are going to have to watch how the economy evolves and I want to underscore that one of the mistakes governments have made over time in dealing with economic crises is putting the brakes on too quickly or in ways that hurt growth just as it’s starting to take hold.  We just want to be careful not to do that.”
 
SEN. CRAPO:  “So are you saying if we don’t see the more rosy picture in 2011 that we may not see the Administration suggest that we move to enact tax increases?”
 
SEC. GEITHNER:  “I’m just saying that recovery requires that we keep stimulus sustained until growth is in place but we have to do it in a fiscally responsible way.”
 
Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency Board (RAT Board) cautions that it would be at least a year before recovery.gov, the website that is supposed to be tracking “stimulus” spending, will be running properly. He also points out that there will be waste and fraud:
 
“I'm afraid that there may be a naive impression that given the amount of transparency and accountability called for by this act, no or little fraud will occur. My 38 years of federal enforcement experience tells me that some level of waste and fraud is unfortunately inevitable."
 
Day 57 -- March 17: The Providence Journal reports that the city of Pawtucket in Rhode Island will be using $550,000 in federal “stimulus” money to build a skateboarding park and renovate tennis and basketball courts at a local high school.
 
Caterpillar announces it is laying off 2,454 employees.
 
Day 58 -- March 18: Obama extols Treasury Secretary Geithner: “Nobody's working harder than this guy. You know, he is making all the right moves in terms of playing a bad hand. I have complete confidence in Tim Geithner and my entire economic team.”
 
Day 60 -- March 20: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO)releases a report on the cost of Obama’s budget. According to the report:
Day 64 -- March 24:   During the second press conference of his presidency, Obama tells the nation his budget moves “from an era of borrow-and-spend to one where we save and invest.”
 
Obama also falsely claims his budget will provide a tax cut to 95 percent of all working families that will appear in people’s paychecks by April 1.” 
 
In reality, it is impossible to cut taxes for “95 percent of working families.”
 
According to IRS data, one-third of all income tax filers do not have an income tax liability.  About 15 percent of all working families do not even have a FICA tax liability, and these numbers are before taking into effect all the new refundable tax credits in the Obama budget.  For these “working families,” all Obama’s budget will do is cut them the equivalent of a welfare check.
 
Day 65 -- March 25: Mexico retaliates in response to the U.S. violation of NAFTA in the “Omnibus Spending Bill” by increasing tariffs on 90 U.S products. President Obama had inserted a provision in the bill that denied funding for a two-year-old pilot program which allowed some Mexican trucks to operate in the U.S.
 
"We consider that the United States is mistaken, protectionist and clearly violating the treaty," stated Mexico's Economy Secretary, Gerardo Ruiz Mateos.
 
Day 66 -- March 26:  An Associated Press story reports that the Obama Administration’s claims to “save and create” jobs through the “stimulus” package cannot be substantiated.  ATR says “We told you so.”
 
Day 69 – March 29: President Obama fires the CEO of General Motors, Rick Wagoner.
 
Day 70 – March 30: President Obama delivers a speech on the automobile industry and General Motors claiming: “Let me be clear: the United States government has no interest or intention of running GM.”
 
Day 70 -- March 30: Obama signs the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, a bill containing numerous earmarks, including $3.5 million to celebrate the 450th Anniversary of St Augustine, Florida in 2015.
 
Day 71 -- March 31: The White House discloses that Kathleen Sebelius, its second nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services, had to pay $7,040 in back taxes.
 
Onvia, a Seattle-based company launches Recovery.org.  While the administration is looking to lower expectations regarding recovery.gov, recovery.org already contains much more useful information that the administration’s site which primarily boasts spin and propaganda
 
The GAO releases a report on TARP underscoring the lack of transparency and accountability in the program.
 
Day 72 -- April 1: On April Fool’s Day, Obama’s first broken promise goes into effect: His promise not to raise any form of taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year. Signed into law back on Feb. 4, on just the sixteenth day of his presidency, the 156 percent –61 cents per pack -- cigarette tax increase falls largely on the shoulders of middle and low-income Americans.
 
“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.” (Barack Obama, September 12, 2008, Dover, NH)
 
"No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama's plan will see one single penny of their tax raised, whether it's their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax."(Joe Biden, Oct. 3, 2008, Vice Presidential Debate, St. Louis, MO)
 
Asked about the tax increase/broken promise, 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.”
 
Day 73 -- April 2: The House and Senate pass the Obama budget outline
 
Day 74 -- April 3: Day 74 -- April 3:  A Wall Street Journal story notes that CBO’s budget estimate from March also quietly revised the cost of TARP up from $189 billion in January to $356 billion.
 
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment rate rose from 8.1% to 8.5%, and the economy shed 663,000 jobs in the month of March.
 
Day 75 -- April 4: Responding to questioning as to why Obama has not met his promise to post legislation online for five full days before signing it into law, senior advisor David Axelrod answered Have we achieved everything we want to achieve yet? No. We’ve actually been a little preoccupied. We’re trying to deal with some major challenges here.”
 
Day 78 -- April 7: Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security releases a report titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”
 
Day 85 -- April 14: Asked about the tax day tea parties being held the following day, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said I don't know if the President is aware of the events.”
 
Day 86 -- April 15: At least 578,000 Americans attend at least 540 tax day tea parties across the country.
 
When challenged as to how Obama squares his promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year while simultaneously raising taxes in cigarettes, spokesman Robert Gibbs replies that People make a decision to smoke.” 
 
Yet minutes later, during the very same press conference, Gibbs stated that Obama’s tax pledge had no caveats: “The statement didn’t come with caveats.”
 
Gibbs also admits President Obama’s campaign promise to not raise taxes on families earning under $250,000 would be broken again by taxing health insurance premiums:
 
“Q: The President's opposition to tax increases for the middle income.  Does that apply to the health care bill, and specifically to this idea about taxing health insurance premiums?

MR. GIBBS: Taxing?

Q: Health insurance premiums.

MR. GIBBS: Well, I mean it's -- the statement didn't come with caveats.”
 
On this day in 1990, Leona Helmsley is ordered to report to prison for not paying her taxes; On this day in 2009, Tim Geithner is Treasury Secretary and runs the IRS.
 
Day 88 -- April 17: Despite her tax problems, Kathleen Sebelius wins Senate Committee approval.
 
Day 90 -- April 19: Obama senior advisor David Axelrod, appearing on the CBS Sunday morning show Face the Nation, describes the taxpayer tea parties as “unhealthy”.
 
Day 91 -- April 20: Obama insults taxpayers by calling for a mere $100 million in spending cuts from the federal budget within 90 days. 
  • $100 million represents .003% (three one thousandths of a percent) of Obama’s FY 2010 budget.
  • $100 million is what the federal government spends every 13 minutes.
  • As Harvard Economist Greg Mankiw points out, cutting $100 million from the federal budget is the equivalent of a family spending $100,000 per year cutting a $3 latte from the annual budget.
Attempting to defend the paltry amount of proposed cuts, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs tells reporters: “I'm not making jokes about it.  I'm being completely sincere that only in Washington, D.C. is $100 million not a lot of money.  It is where I'm from.  It is where I grew up.  And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans.”
            [Video]
 
Day 93 -- April 22: Happy Earth Day? Obama sends three cabinet officers to Congress to testify in favor of the energy provisions in his budget, threatening Americans with a $10,000 tax hike per year on every American family once fully phased in.
 
A GAO report warns of a lack of accountability and oversight for “stimulus” spending, and points out the slow pace of spending in spite of Vice President Joe Biden’s assertion that “stimulative spending is ahead of schedule.”
 
Day 95 – April 24: In one of the most egregious abuses of ‘stimulus’ funds, $800,000 is committed to build a new runway at “Murtha airport”. Murtha stands by funding the airport despite the fact only three flights depart the airport on weekdays. 
 
Day 98 – April 27: A White House approved Air Force One “picture mission” tears across the skies of New York City trailed by two F-16s, reminding understandably frightened New Yorkers of 9/11. The photo op was a $328,835 “mistake” according to the President.
 
Day 105 – May 4: President Obama announces his plans to double-tax the international profits of American firms, a proposal which will cause U.S. companies to ship jobs overseas and relocate their headquarters abroad. Americans for Tax Reform countered the Obama administration’s claims.
 
Day 108 – May 7: President Obama releases a misleading budget document that claims to consist solely of spending cuts, but in fact contains $26.4 billion worth of energy taxes.
 
Day 113 – May 12: President Obama’s Treasury releases the “Green Book” -- the details of his plans for tax increases. ATR exposes details of his ‘tax increase playbook’:
  • Some families making less than $250,000 per year will see an income tax hike, yet another violation of Obama’s tax pledge
  • American families will bear the brunt of the Obama tax blueprint’s energy tax hike
  • Small businesses will shed jobs to pay for the higher small business tax rates
WBAL TV in Baltimore reports that thousands of dead people are receiving “stimulus” checks in the mail.
 
Day 116 – May 15:  Americans for Tax Reform releases an overall review of Obama’s energy tax hikes, a total of $968 billion in new taxes.
 
Day 121 – May 20: Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee hire a speed reader to read the Waxman-Markey ‘cap-and-tax’ bill; anything to avoid actually reading the legislation themselves.
 
Day 128 – May 27:  The Washington Post reports the Obama White House has not ruled out a Value Added Tax (VAT) to finance government-run health care.  Peter Orszag’s spokesman Kenneth Baer: “While we do not want to rule any credible idea in or out as we discuss the way forward with Congress, the VAT tax, in particular, is popular with academics but highly controversial with policymakers.”
 
Obama marks 100 days since the passage of the “stimulus” bill. According to the Administration, $112 billion from the “stimulus” has been spent or obligated at this point.  Assuming that the President’s unsubstantiated claim that the legislation has “saved” 150,000 jobs is correct, each job “saved” cost taxpayers $746,600. 
 
Day 135 – June 3:  Vice President Biden, in defending the “stimulus” says “we know some of this money is going to be wasted”.  Does ‘we’ include Barack Obama? Apparently the President was not on the same page when he claimed the “stimulus” would be “without waste, without inefficiency, without fraud” back on February 20.
 
President Obama makes official his support of government-run health care in a letter to Senators Baucus and Kennedy.
 
“Buy American” language in the “stimulus” causes Canadian municipalities to pass their own protectionist legislation. "If one country starts to build protectionist barriers that hurt businesses in another country, there will be an impulse to retaliate, and I would like to see this resolved at the executive level in the United States," states Canada’s Trade Minister Stockwell Day.
 
Day 137 -- June 5: The Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report shows steep job losses under President Obama:
  • 345,000 jobs lost in the month of May
  • 1.5 million jobs lost in the three full months since the “stimulus” bill passed
  • 9.4 percent unemployment, the highest level since 1983.
However, in January, White House economic advisors Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein said the unemployment rate would not rise above 8% if the “stimulus” was passed.
 
Day 140 -- June 8:  Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says Obama’s double-tax proposal will cause the company to move jobs out of the U.S.  “It makes U.S. jobs more expensive…we’re better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the U.S.”
 
Day 141 – June 9: President Obama submits a PAYGO proposal which would give a built in excuse to raise the short- and long-term cost of government AND practically require Congress to raise taxes to "pay for" it. 
 
Day 142 -- June 10: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announces a new campaign to support free enterprise “in the face of rapid government growth and attacks by anti-business activists.”
 
Day 143 -- June 11: President Obama reiterates his support for a public health care option. During the same town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin, President Obama also claims he doesn’t believe in expanding the government’s role:
 
The reason is not because we want a government takeover of health care…I've already said, if you've got a private plan that works for you, that's great. But we want some competition. If the private insurance companies have to compete with a public option, it'll keep them honest, and it'll help keep their prices down.”
 
 
Day 146 -- June 14: On Meet the Press, Vice President Biden admits the “stimulus” was based on incorrect assumptions about the economy and they cannot measure whether it has “saved or created” any jobs:
 
"Everyone guessed wrong at the time the estimate was made about what the state of the economy was at the moment this was passed."
 
On Meet the Press, Biden confirms the taxing of employee health care benefits is on the table:
 
“MR. GREGORY:  Will the president sign a bill that taxes health care benefits for employees?
VICE PRES. BIDEN:  We made it clear we do not think that is the way to go. We think that is the wrong way to finance this legislation.
MR. GREGORY:  So if the bill comes with that...
VICE PRES. BIDEN:  But--no, no, no.
MR. GREGORY:  ...the president wouldn't sign it?
VICE PRES. BIDEN:  I didn't say that.”
 
Day 147 -- June 15: Obama again asserts he does not want to expand the role of government, this time during a speech to the American Medical Association: “When you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this – they are not telling the truth”
 
Day 148 -- June 16:  In an interview with Bloomberg News, Obama states he is “confident” he will not have to raise taxes on “ordinary working families”: “One of the biggest variables in this whole thing is economic growth. If we are growing at a robust rate, then we can pay for the government that we need without having to raise taxes.”
 “I’m confident that we don’t have to raise taxes on ordinary working families.”
 
Earl Devaney, head of the Recovery Act Accountability and Transparency (RAT) Board, estimates that at least $55 billion of “stimulus” funds may be lost to waste, fraud and abuse.
 
 
Obama once again claims he has a limited government philosophy during an interview with the Wall Street Journal:
 
"I think the irony … is that I actually would like to see a relatively light touch when it comes to the government."
 
(We find it ironic too, Mr. President.)

Top Comments


Obama's VAT Trial Balloon Dusts Off Bill Clinton's 1993 Playbook


Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, May 28th, 2009, 6:11 PM PERMALINK


When it comes to finding a way to finance government-run health care, the administration of Barack Obama is floating a VAT trial balloon echoing that of President Bill Clinton in 1993.

The Obama administration’s VAT trial balloon is being floated by Kenneth Baer, spokesman for Obama Budget Director Peter Orszag, who was quoted in the Washington Post on Wednesday as saying a VAT is "unlikely to be in the mix" but did not rule it out, despite Obama’s central campaign promise not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000: "While we do not want to rule any credible idea in or out as we discuss the way forward with Congress, the VAT tax, in particular, is popular with academics but highly controversial with policymakers.”
 
In April of 1993, newly inaugurated President Clinton was exploring ways to pay for his government health care plan, including a VAT, as noted at the time in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
 
Trial balloons wafting over Washington say the administration may be considering a value-added tax - VAT for short - to fund universal health care coverage. And President Bill Clinton himself is keeping the balloons aloft. “There are all kinds of arguments for it on policy grounds,”Clinton said Friday at a press conference.Clinton said he hadn't decided to include a VAT in his health care plan. But he said he didn't mind the fact that two top administration officials said they liked the idea.’ We've had a lot of people from business and labor come to us saying they thought that that tax would help make their particular industries more competitive in the global economy,"Clinton told a reporter, who implied that the aides were speaking out of turn. (Gallagher, J. (1993, April 25). Clinton Stirs a VAT; New Tax Enters Health Debate. St. Louis Post-Dispatch.)
 
“The people closest to Obama seem to believe he wasn’t telling the truth when he promised not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  “Otherwise they would have outright rejected the mere mention of a VAT, a tax that would be paid by all Americans.”

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Top Comments


1.9 Million Jobs Lost Under Obama-No Matter How You Slice it


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, May 11th, 2009, 4:09 PM PERMALINK


The White House's invention of new metrics such as “saved” jobs and “job-year” doesn't pass the laugh test.

The U.S. has lost at least 1.9 million jobs since President Barack Obama took office. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the total number of jobs nationwide fell from 134.3 million at the end of January to 132.4 million at the end of April.

Meanwhile, Obama and his economic advisors have resorted to the invention of highly questionable new metrics such as the number of “saved” jobs and – making its debut today -- the number of “job-years” created.
 
The concept of a “saved” job was best debunked by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. On March 4, while testifying before the Committee, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was challenged by Baucus as follows:
 
SEN: MAX BAUCUS: "You created a situation where you cannot be wrong. If the economy loses 2 million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would've lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs. You've given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct."
 
BLS data show 651,000 jobs were lost in February; 663,000 jobs were lost in March; and 539,000 jobs were lost in April. The unemployment rate stands at 8.9 percent, up from 7.6 percent at the end of January.

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Pre-Buttals to Obama's Press Conference


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 7:57 PM PERMALINK


According to his prepared remarks for tonight’s press conference, Obama will make the following claim:

“We began by passing a Recovery Act that has already saved or created over 150,000 jobs and provided a tax cut to 95% of all working families.”
 
Rebuttal:
 
First, cutting taxes for “95% of all working families” is mathematically impossible. Obama is referring to the “Making Work Pay” refundable tax credit, which took effect on April 1. According to IRS data, one-third of all income tax filers don’t have a federal income tax liability.  About 15 percent of all working families don’t even have a FICA tax liability, and these numbers are before taking into effect all the new refundable tax credits of the Obama budget.  For these “working families,” all Obama’s budget will do is cut them the equivalent of a welfare check.
 
Second, there is no intellectually honest way to measure “saved or created” jobs. As Senator John Ensign (R-NV) said on March 4 to Tim Geithner: "You created a situation where you cannot be wrong. If the economy loses 2 million jobs over the next few years, you can say yes, but it would've lost 5.5 million jobs. If we create a million jobs, you can say, well, it would have lost 2.5 million jobs," Ensign said. "You've given yourself complete leverage where you cannot be wrong, because you can take any scenario and make yourself look correct."

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Press Conference Tonight: Questions for Obama


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 5:41 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform suggests the following questions be asked of President Obama tonight as he holds the third prime time press conference of his presidency:

Tax Hikes on Those Making Less than $250,000: You repeatedly promised during your campaign that you would not raise taxes on people making less than $250,000 per year. Yet your very own budget contains a “Cap and Trade” tax plan that will increase taxes on every American family by $3,100 per year, and other provisions that could total as much as $10,000 per year. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) recently said “No one in this country realizes that Cap-and-Trade is a tax, and it’s a great big one.” Do you agree with him?
 
Transparency: The website BarackObama.com emphasizes a promise you made during your campaign – a promise that all legislation reaching your desk will be posted online for five full days so that Americans have a chance to review it. On numerous occasions, including the “Stimulus” bill, you have not lived up to this promise. Why?
 
95 Percent of Working Families: You have said that your budget cuts taxes for 95 percent of working families. Yet the IRS reports that one-third of tax returns record no income tax liability. How is your claim mathematically possible?
 
Small Business Tax Hikes: You have said that your plan to raise tax rates on families making $250,000 or more will only affect a small percentage of small businesses, which pay business taxes on their owners’ 1040s. Yet IRS data shows that $2 out of every $3 in profits earned by small businesses pays taxes in just these households. Isn’t the fact that most small business profits will be subjected to a tax hike an important consideration?
 
Tea Parties: On April 14, your spokesman Robert Gibbs said he was not sure if you knew about the “tea parties” attended by at least 578,000 Americans in at least 540 locations. Going forward, do you think it is important to take the concerns of these Americans seriously?

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Top Five Ridiculous Quotations of Obama's First 100 Days


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 2:03 PM PERMALINK


On the occasion of President Obama’s first 100 days in office, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) highlights five memorable quotations from the Obama Administration:

“What it does not contain, however, is a single pet project, not a single earmark, and it has been stripped of the projects members of both parties found most objectionable.”
 
            -- On Feb. 9, President Obama characterizes a stimulus bill that contains over 9,000 earmarks as not containing “a single earmark”
 
 
“As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President’s Day that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets, not because I believe in bigger government -- I don't -- not because I'm not mindful of the massive debt we've inherited -- I am.” 
 
-- On February 24, Obama makes his first address to a joint session of Congress and claims he does not believe in “bigger government”. Two days later he releases his budget outline which dramatically increases the scope of the federal government.
 
 
I want to underscore that one of the mistakes governments have made over time in dealing with economic crises is putting the brakes on too quickly or in ways that hurt growth just as it’s starting to take hold.  We just want to be careful not to do that.”
 
-- On March 12, testifying before the Senate Budget Committee, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner admits that tax hikes “hurt growth” -- while ducking questions as to whether Obama’s planned tax hikes would go into effect in 2011 regardless of the condition of the economy
 
 
I don't know if the President is aware of the events.”
 
-- Robert Gibbs on April 14, in response to a question about the nationwide “tax day tea parties” attended by at least 578,000 people in hundreds of cities nationwide.
 
 
I'm not making jokes about it.  I'm being completely sincere that only in Washington, D.C. is $100 million not a lot of money.  It is where I'm from.  It is where I grew up.  And I think it is for hundreds of millions of Americans.”
 
-- Robert Gibbs on April 20, attempting to defend the paltry sum of proposed budget cuts by Obama: $100 million, which is less than 0.003% of Obama’s FY 2010 budget and less than one day of interest on the “stimulus” bill
 

 

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Obama's Broken Promise: No Tax Hikes on Those Making Less Than $250,000


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009, 4:34 PM PERMALINK


During his campaign, President Obama promised repeatedly that he would never raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000 per year. A review of Obama’s first 100 days in office shows he has broken this promise on at least two occasions.

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 (September 12, 2008, Dover, NH)
 
"No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama's plan will see one single penny of their tax raised," Joe Biden said, "whether it's their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax."(Joe Biden, Oct. 3, 2008, Vice Presidential Debate, St. Louis, MO)
 
DATES PROMISE BROKEN:
 
Feb. 4 -- just 16 days into his presidency, Obama signs into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61 cents per pack, which took effect on April 1. 
 
The tax increase falls squarely on the shoulders of the middle and low-income Americans Obama said he would not raise taxes on: 55 percent of smokers are “working poor”, one in four smokers live below the poverty line, and on average, smokers, whose median income is a little more than $36,000 make about 30 percent less than non-smokers.
 
Feb. 26 -- Obama released his FY 2010 budget which imposes a range of tax hikes including a ''cap and trade'' tax of $646 billion. Every American family will pay this tax in the form of higher gasoline, heating and electric bills. By adding together the “cap and trade” tax increase along with other energy tax hikes in the Obama budget and dividing by the number of families, it's clear what this annual tax hike would be:  The average American family would pay, directly or indirectly, approximately $10,000 per year in new energy taxes.
 

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Obama's $100 Million in Spending Cuts = Less Than One Day of Interest on the "Stimulus" Bill


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, April 20th, 2009, 3:41 PM PERMALINK


President Barack Obama today asked his Cabinet to find a mere $100 million to cut from the federal budget in the next ninety days. This hollow attempt to placate a concerned citizenry represented by at least 360,000 tax day tea party attendees is an insult to taxpayers and equals less than one day of interest on the $787 billion “Stimulus” bill.

Here’s the math:
 
--The “Stimulus” bill created $787 billion in new debt
 
--Assume an interest rate of 5 percent
 
--5 percent of $787 billion = $39.5 billion
 
--$39.5 billion divided by 365 days = $108.2 million per day in interest generated from the debt issued to finance the stimulus package
 
“This is a pathetic joke”, said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. This ‘cut’ is less than three thousandths of one percent of the federal budget. Penny wise, trillion dollar stupid.”

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ATR Commends Sen. Specter for His Decision to Vote Against EFCA


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009, 2:32 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform congratulates Sen. Specter for his decision to vote against cloture and final passage of the Employee Free Choice Act better known as Card Check. This is perhaps the most important issue facing Congress this year.

To see ATR’s full statement on Sen. Specter’s decision, click “read more.”
 
 
Specter to vote against Card Check
ATR commends Sen. Arlen Specter for his commitment to vote against both cloture and final passage of Employee Free Choice Act
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Americans for Tax Reform was able to confirm today that Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) will announce his intent to vote against both cloture and final passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as “Card Check.”
 
Senator Specter has come through in the clutch,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “This is almost certain to be the single most important vote of 2009. The Employee Free Choice Act has the potential to do tremendous damage to the economy at an extremely vulnerable time. Thank you Senator Specter for standing on the side of individual liberty for American workers.”
 
Among other anti-worker features such as binding arbitration, EFCA will eliminate a worker’s right to a federally-supervised private ballot election. Instead, private ballots will be replaced by a kind of open-air petition known as a “card check.” Under this system, workers would lose their right to privacy. Employers, union organizers, and co-workers would all know whether individual workers each vote for or against unionization.
 
Additionally, a recent study from The Alliance to Save Main Street Jobs estimates that the effects of the EFCA and card check will cost 600,000 American jobs in 2010 alone.

 

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Geithner acknowledges tax hikes "hurt growth" while ducking questions on implementation


Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, March 12th, 2009, 1:16 PM PERMALINK


Treasury Secretary Geithner testified before the Senate Budget Committee today.  Under questioning from Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Geithner admitted tax hikes "hurt growth" but ducked questions as to whether Obama's planned tax increases would still go into effect if the economy is not in recovery by 2011.

ATR issued the following in response:

Testifying before the Senate Budget Committee this morning, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner acknowledged tax increases “hurt growth” yet repeatedly ducked questions on whether President Obama’s planned tax hikes would go into effect in 2011 regardless of the condition of the economy:

SEN. MIKE CRAPO, R-Idaho:  “You say that the tax increases will only happen when the economy has recovered. I understand that a lot of economists are saying we are going to be recovered by 2011.   Frankly I think there are economists who are saying maybe our recovery will not be so strong by then.  My question to you is, are these tax increases contingent on a recovery or are they going to happen regardless of what happens in 2011?”
 
SEC. GEITHNER: “Senator, I think it is a very important question. I think, again, we need to lay out an ambitious path for bringing those deficits down, commit to achieving that with a mix of measures on the resource side and the spending side to do the best possible job of leaving our economy stronger, and that’s what the President’s budget tries to do. Now of course we are going to have to watch how the economy evolves and I want to underscore that one of the mistakes governments have made over time in dealing with economic crises is putting the brakes on too quickly or in ways that hurt growth just as it’s starting to take hold. We just want to be careful not to do that.”
 
SEN. CRAPO: “So are you saying if we don’t see the more rosy picture in 2011 that we may not see the Administration suggest that we move to enact tax increases?”
 
SEC. GEITHNER: “I’m just saying that recovery requires that we keep stimulus sustained until growth is in place but we have to do it in a fiscally responsible way.”
 
“Obama and Geithner are putting the brakes on the economy NOW. Unlike Secretaries of the Treasury, small businessmen and women plan their investment and hiring decisions based on the tax burden years in advance,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Telling someone you are going to dramatically raise their taxes later is a disincentive now, not just in a matter of 22 months into the future.   That is, unless you are one of Obama’s cronies and you don’t pay your taxes anyway.”

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