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.”
On March 25, 2009, Peter Orszag, the director of The Office of Management and Budget stated that the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, would be limited in their recommendations by President Obama’s “firm pledge”:
DIRECTOR ORSZAG:With regard to the task force, the only constraints on its activities are that there will be no tax increases during 2009 or 2010, and the proposals should not raise taxes on American families making less than $250,000.
Despite saying new taxes were off the table with Paul Volker and the president’s Economic Recover Advisory Board, the White House has not held the Simpson-Bowles Debt Commission to the same standard. 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.
Obama was first walking, and is now running away from his most famous pledge to taxpayers. We’ve been discovering a no tax promise with a loophole becoming bigger than the promise. Said Grover Norquiest.
Bowles also refused to rule out a Value-Added Tax.
Did President Obama simply forget his tax pledge to the American people or is he making a play for political cover? He seemed to remember it when instructing Paul Volcker and the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Maybe if the debt commission recommends a tax increase, he thinks he will not have to be accountable to his pledge not to raise taxes anymore.
Access the [PDF]