Today, on the sixteenth day of his presidency, Barack Obama broke one of the central promises of his candidacy: No American earning under $250,000 per year would face any form of tax increase under his administration. By signing the S-CHIP legislation today, Obama has now broken his oft-repeated promise.
Obama’s signature puts into effect a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61 cents per pack.
Obama promised repeatedly on the campaign trail that he would never raise 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” (Barack
Obama, September 12, 2008, Dover, NH).
Shouldering the burden of this tax increase are 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
- On average, smokers, whose median income is a little more than $36,000, make about 30 percent less than non-smokers.
“Tom Daschle and Leona Helmsley believe that only the little people should pay taxes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Obama agrees; he just raised taxes on millions of lower-income Americans. His central campaign promise was a lie.”