01 July 2009

Yet Another Broken Campaign Promise On The Horizon?

We have seen one campaign promise be broken after another. Recent events from the past few days may be indicative of another one that is coming. Throughout the campaign, then Senator Obama promised that no one making under $250,000 a year would see an increase in taxes. Many voters believed this and voted based on it. Apparently, the administration is realizing that their health care reform proposals would actually raise taxes on the very people they promised it would not. Although they haven't come right out and said that they would be raising taxes, they are not denying it either...

Transcript from June 29, 2009 White House Press Briefing:

Q Robert, I just wanted to ask about health care. Yesterday on ABC, David Axelrod was asked repeatedly about whether the President would veto any health reform bill that has a tax on people making -- a tax increase on anybody making under $250,000 per year. So I want to give you a chance, as well. (Laughter.) Will the President veto -- will the President veto any health bill that has a tax --
MR. GIBBS: We should get David down here. You know, here's what -- I think we get this question once a week, in some form or another. I think in many ways, Ed, what marks the difference between this health care effort and other health care efforts in the past is exactly what the President described -- a very large table with people sitting at it, trying to solve a problem that we've been working on for 40 years.
The good news is we're making significant progress, and all those people are still sitting at the table. We haven't drawn a lot of bright lines. We understand there's some flexibility on the part of Congress to work through some of these policy issues. And we're going to allow that process to continue to make -- that process to continue in order to make progress.
Q That may be true, but the President on the campaign said that -- he made a flat pledge that he would not raise taxes on anybody making under $250,000. So is that pledge still operable?
MR. GIBBS: Well, again, I think in some ways your question is hypothetical because there are any number of different bills, different proposals. I think the President has outlined what he believes is the very best way to pay for health care.
Q It doesn't have to be hypothetical. He made a pledge --
MR. GIBBS: I understand.
Q -- he said, I am not going to raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000. Is that pledge still active?
MR. GIBBS: We are going to let the process work its way through.
Q So it's not.
Q So it's not.
Q So it's not. (Laughter.)
MR. GIBBS: We're going to let the process work its way through. All right?
You have that awfully perplexed look on your face, Mr. Garrett.
Q Well, what would be the reason for reversing among the most conspicuous, if not the most conspicuous, campaign promise that this candidate Obama repeated everywhere across the country?
MR. GIBBS: Well, I appreciate the indulgence to get into these hypothetical questions months before we're likely to do that. It is rich to watch the fact that we're making so little progress on health care reform that you've asked me if the President is going to sign the bill that's not at his desk. Let's --
Q We didn't ask you about signing the bill --
MR. GIBBS: No, no --
Q And there's nothing hypothetical about reaffirming a campaign promise.
MR. GIBBS: It is in the sense that we're not facing any sort of decision on this. We're letting Congress work many of these issues through. And we're making progress.
Q But, historically, administrations that make such conspicuous promises tell Congress, you can do this, this, and this, but don't go there because it's not something we're going to do.
MR. GIBBS: And I think the President in his principles and in the $948 billion to finance health care reform has laid out pretty clearly what his financing mechanism would be. Which --
Q Then why not take the opportunity provided by Ed to reassure the American public that the campaign promise still stands?
MR. GIBBS: -- any increase in revenue would affect top wage-earners' charitable deductions, returning them to the rates of the Regan administration.
Q Robert, so going back to this tax pledge thing, whether you've made a campaign -- the campaign promise and whether you've now opened the door on this. Is it fair to interpret that you've opened the door? Because this is what you said in April: "I would restate what he said in the campaign, and that is he won't raise taxes on people that make above $250,000 a year."
MR. GIBBS: I think the President --
Q So is that statement no longer effective?
MR. GIBBS: I would -- I love playing -- I love us playing out Wimbledon without the benefit of a grass tennis court, but we're going to let Congress do its job. We're going to have the President do his job. We're going to make progress on health care reform. And I think you'll see a reform bill come to his desk later this year, and one that he will sign.
Q So you just don't want to be -- it's fair to say he is not allowing himself to be boxed in by a campaign promise?
MR. GIBBS: It's fair to say -- it's fair to say that we're watching Congress do their job.

Senior Obama Advisor David Axelrod on ABC this Sunday:

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... with that, especially on health care, excuse me, is figuring out where the revenues are going to come from. And, you know, a lot of talk about taxes in the House and the Senate as well.
And I want to show our viewers something the president said during the campaign back in September.
OBAMA: 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.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not any of your taxes, a firm pledge. Does that mean the president will veto any health care bill that includes a tax increase on people earning less than $250,000 a year?
AXELROD: Well, first of all, George, let's make a few points. The president has said whatever is done has to not add to the deficit. So that's one of the prerequisites for this bill. We've got issue with our budget. Everybody is aware that we don't want to add to our deficit.
So this is going to have to be paid for. Two-thirds of the expenses -- two-thirds of the expense of it under the president's plan and proposal would be done by transferring money within the health care system from Medicare on wasteful spending, giveaways to insurance and drug companies, and so on.
And so we're talking about the final third. He has proposed a plan that would be in keeping with the promise that he made, to cap deductions for the wealthiest Americans on their taxes.
He still believes that's the way to go. And he has made a strong case to the House and the Senate on it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But he also said this week he was open to compromise on this. And as you know, the Senate is looking especially at this issue of capping the deductions for health care that employers and employees now get. That would get -- would be a tax increase for many families earning under $250,000.
But the president said he was open to it. So that means that the tax pledge he made back in September is no longer operative?
AXELROD: Well, George, first of all, there are a lot of different formulations of that plan. The president had said in the past that he doesn't believe taxing health care benefits at any level is necessarily the best way to go here. He still believes that.
But there are a number of formulations and we'll wait and see. The important thing at this point is to keep the process moving, to keep people at the table, to the keep the discussions going.
We've gotten a long way down the road and we want to finish that journey.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you're open to tax increases for people under $250,000, that means that the pledge he made last September in Dover is no longer operative. AXELROD: George, I think the president has made clear the way he feels this should be funded. And certainly is consistent with what he said during...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But he's not drawing a line in the sand.
AXELROD: ... the campaign.

Is this another "read my lips" situation? Its starting to look like it.

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  1. freedom lover02 July, 2009 17:17

    Once the taxes are raised, when will the "you are taking Obama's tax pledge out of context" stuff start?

  2. or "that's not what we said."


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