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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