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Obama's "firm pledge" on Taxes is Anything But


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010, 10:22 AM PERMALINK


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President Barack Obama’s central campaign promise – a “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year – is about to be shattered when Obama signs the healthcare bill into law. The bill contains seven tax hikes that unquestionably violate Obama’s 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.” 
Obama and his staff, however, are all over the map on his tax pledge, as this timeline shows:
 
Sept. 12, 2008: Obama makes a “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on those making less than $250,000 per year:
“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 clip]
February 24, 2009: In an address to a joint session of Congress, Obama restates the promise in forceful terms:
“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime.  I repeat: not one single dime.” [Transcript]
April 1, 2009: In a statement to the AP -- after Obama broke his pledge by signing into law a steep hike in the federal excise tax on tobacco -- White House spokesman Reid H. Cherlin attempts to claim that the Obama pledge only applies to “income or payroll taxes”:
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.” (Associated Press interview) [Permalink]

April 15, 2009:   President Obama repeats his pledge:

“We've made a clear promise that families that earn less than $250,000 a year will not see their taxes increase by a single dime.  And we have kept to those promises that were made during the campaign.” [Transcript]

April 15, 2009: During a White House press briefing, when challenged as to how Obama’s tax pledge squares with his tax hike on tobacco, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs replies:

“People make a decision to smoke.” [Transcript]

April 15, 2009: Moments later, when asked if Obama’s tax pledge applies “to the health care bill”, Gibbs replies:

“The statement didn’t come with caveats.”  (White House Briefing) [Transcript]

June 28, 2009:  When challenged on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos as to whether Obama’s tax pledge applies to healthcare reform, White House Advisor David Axelrod refuses three times to affirm the pledge and replies:

“One of the problems we've had in this town is that people draw lines in the sand and they stop talking to each other. And you don't get anything done.” [Transcript] [Video]

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