Jim Geraghty says that the expiration dates come too fast and furious to keep pace these days, but this one’s a doozy. After having insisted all along that anyone suggesting his economic policies would require middle-class tax hikes was deliberately lying, Obama suddenly proclaims himself an “agnostic” on whether imposing higher taxes on people earning under $250,000 will be necessary:
President Barack Obama said he is “agnostic” about raising taxes on households making less than $250,000 as part of a broad effort to rein in the budget deficit.
Obama, in a Feb. 9 Oval Office interview, said that a presidential commission on the budget needs to consider all options for reducing the deficit, including tax increases and cuts in spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
“The whole point of it is to make sure that all ideas are on the table,” the president said in the interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “So what I want to do is to be completely agnostic, in terms of solutions.”
Obama repeatedly vowed during the 2008 presidential election campaign that he would not raise taxes on individuals making less than $200,000 and households earning less than $250,000 a year. When senior White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner suggested in August that the administration might be open to going back on that pledge, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs quickly reiterated the president’s promise.
We don’t need to go to Robert Gibbs to get the lowdown on Obama’s pledge. Obama made his “firm pledge” crystal clear in 2008 on the campaign trail:
“No family making less than $250,000 will see any form of tax increase. … not any of your taxes.”
What changed? Obama’s economic policies have had the effect that we predicted they would during the campaign. The White House sees trillion-plus budget deficits for most of the next ten years, thanks to massively expanding federal budgets and the drag they put on economic growth. Either Obama has to drastically reduce federal spending and the intrusion it creates in American lives, or he has to hike taxes in a broad manner to generate enough income to offset the spending. Taxing just the upper 5% isn’t an option.
Unfortunately, neither is reining in a federal budget that Democrats have already increased over a trillion dollars since taking control of Congress in 2006. They seem incapable of cutting spending, or even halting the increase of spending. Instead, they will suck more capital out of the private sector as they create a massive nanny-state system that has already failed in Europe.
Obama fooled middle-class voters into supporting him in 2008 with this pledge. Once it expires, he’s left with nothing but the reality of being another Leftist idealogue with a penchant for top-down government control.
Update: This is definitely related — my old friend Jonathan Last looks at whether Obama has a problem with blue-collar voters.