Statements made Sunday by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers indicate President Barack Obama is poised to (again) break his central campaign promise not to raise “any form” of taxes on Americans making less than $250,000 per year. The comments are the latest of a string of statements by Obama’s spokesmen and appointees gradually stepping back from the “firm pledge” made during the campaign.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Geithner would not rule out a pledge-breaking tax hike after being given several opportunities to do so. “I think what the country needs to do is understand we’re going to have to do what it takes, we’re going to do what’s necessary.”
Meanwhile, on CBS’s Face the Nation, Summers also refused to rule out a tax hike: “It is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out, no matter what,” he said.
“Obama should fire Geithner and Summers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Two appointees of President Obama went on national television and implied the president lied his way into office and that he is open to raising taxes.”
“To have the president’s own appointees accuse him of lying his way into office is a betrayal beyond words,” continued Norquist. “If, however, Obama has been silent in reaction to these two statements, he does intend to raise taxes, and he should resign because he lied his way into office by making a promise he had no intention of keeping.”
During the campaign, Obama made 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]
“George H.W. Bush made a similar promise,” said Norquist. “He broke that promise and was fired by the American people.”
Click here for a PDF of the release.