A real pledge or a lie to get votes?
Hillary Clinton has endorsed several tax increases on middle income Americans, despite her pledge not to raise taxes on any American making less than $250,000. She has said she would be fine with a payroll tax hike on all Americans, she has endorsed a steep soda tax, endorsed a 25% national gun tax, and most recently, her campaign manager John Podesta said she would be open to a carbon tax.
After she endorsed the soda tax, Bernie Sanders called out Clinton’s violation of her pledge. As reported by NBC News, Sanders said:
“Frankly, I am very surprised that Secretary Clinton would support this regressive tax after pledging not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. This proposal clearly violates her pledge,” he said.
Sanders also said:
“The mechanism here is fairly regressive. And that is, it will be increasing taxes on low-income and working people.”
It’s no wonder that when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if her pledge was a “rock-solid” promise, she slipped and said the pledge was merely a “goal.” In other words, she’s going to raise taxes on middle income Americans.
During a July 31 CBS 60 Minutes interview, correspondent Scott Pelley asked Clinton about her tax pledge:
Scott Pelley: “Who gets a tax increase? Who gets a tax cut?”
Hillary Clinton: “The middle class will not get a tax increase. That has been my pledge.”
Scott Pelley: “What does middle class mean?”
Hillary Clinton: “Well, we say below $250,000”
But when pressed on the issue on ABC’s This Week in Dec. 2015, Clinton balked and said her pledge was actually just a “goal”:
George Stephanopoulos: “You are also saying no tax increases at all on anyone earning $250,000. Is that a rock solid read-my-lips promise?”
Clinton: “Well, it certainly is my goal. And I’ve laid it out in this campaign. And it’s something that President Obama promised. It’s something my husband certainly tried to achieve. Because I want Americans to know that I get it.”
So, Clinton’s “pledge” is not real. She admitted as much.
“She’s up front saying ‘I’m going to lie my way into office,’” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
In addition to reducing her pledge to a mere “goal” Clinton referenced two presidents – Obama and Bill Clinton – who raised taxes on the very people they promised to spare.
As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama made the same promise. Speaking in Dover, New Hampshire on Sept. 12, 2008, Obama said:
“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.” [Video]
In an address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009, President Obama restated the promise in forceful terms:
But Obama broke that promise. He signed into law eight tax increases that directly hit Americans making less than $250,000 per year. There are seven tax increases in Obamacare that are in violation of his pledge, such as the individual mandate non-compliance tax; an income tax hike on those with high medical bills; tax hikes on flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts; and even a 10 percent “indoor tanning tax.” Combined, these tax increases target tens of millions of Americans.
Obama first broke his pledge on the sixteenth day of his presidency, when he raised taxes on cigarettes. At the time, the median income of smokers was less than $40,000. The Associated Press rightly called out Obama for the broken promise in a national piece titled “Promises, Promises: Obama Tax Pledge Up in Smoke.”
Hillary’s husband Bill raised the gas tax, steeply increasing the tax burden on millions of middle income Americans.
“Hillary told us that her pledge is just a tactic to try and win the election, not a principle with which to govern,” said Norquist.