During his campaign, President Obama made a “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of taxes on families making less than $250,000 per year. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has said the pledge “didn’t come with caveats.”
Yet President Obama told the leaders of his debt commission that “everything is on the table”.
In an interview on Fox News Sunday, debt commission co-chairman Erskine Bowles had the following exchange with host Chris Wallace:
CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: Mr. Bowles, Barack Obama — I don't have to tell you — campaigned in 2008 for president on a flat pledge that he would not raise any taxes — not income taxes, not any taxes — on people making less than $250,000 a year. Do you feel bound by the president's pledge?
ERSKINE BOWLES, DEBT COMMISSION CO-CHAIRMAN:What I feel bound by is the president looked Senator Simpson and me in the eye and he said, everything is on the table.
Bowles also refused to rule out a Value-Added Tax. The Bowles statements may explain Obama’s recent attempts to alter the terms of his central campaign promise. Twice this month, 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]