Taxes

Obama's Pledge Not To Raise Taxes: A Firm Commitment to Possibly Raising Taxes

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We promise not to raise taxes, unless we decide to raise taxes.

Talking about the deficit, budget super-cutie Peter Orszag carves out some wiggle room in President Obama's campaign tax pledge:

On the question of whether President Obama can meet his deficit reduction goal while keeping his promise not to raise taxes on couples making less than $250,000 per year, Orszag stuck to President Obama's position that he wants to give the fiscal commission, which held its first meeting yesterday, plenty of running room to come up with a solution.

You might think that when an elected official makes a promise to avoid a certain policy (like tax hikes), then that policy would no longer be considered. In theory, that's the whole point of promising not to do something—to definitively take that option off the table. But apparently a promise not to raise taxes on a particular group of people actually means…well, not much of anything at all.

Not that it matters considering that Obama has already broken his campaign tax pledges. That is, unless you take the administration's more nuanced view of taxation, which, as Jacob Sullum describes it, comes down to the simple idea that "when the president does it, it's not a tax."

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  1. Let me be clear:

    I inherited this mess. The deficit commission is bipartisan (token Rep old fart Alan). The world will explode if we slow spending. There ain’t enough so-called rich to get enough juice through further income tax increases.

    Given all this, it is clear that the VAT is the only solution. Don’t want to do it but we must.

    Let’s slip it in slow. We’ll start out at 3% and ram in the rest later.

    1. It’s the tax version of “just the tip”

  2. OK, TEAM BLUE dipshits: please explain how Obama explicitly breaking his promises isn’t bad, wrong, or lying. I need the lulz, it’s Friday.

    1. Boosh did it first! McCain would have been worse?

      1. What?!

    2. Public campaign promises are for little people, Episiarch. Obama must achieve our noble goals through whatever means necessary, without limit, hindrance, or discussion.

      How’s that?

      1. He has shifted from campaigning mode to governing mode. All candidates do it.

    3. Because he’s our bastard.

      It only matters when the other side is a lying, mendacious sack of shit in a suit.

    4. “Bush Lied, People Died.”

      (repeat 1,000 times over at anti-war rally for Pavlovian effect to sink into fellow TEAM BLUE brains or for simplistic rhyme scheme to annoy more nuanced Libertarian thinkers)

      1. Bush DID Lie! People DID die!

        That of course is no excuse for the Democrats to push for massive expansion of government. It is a slap in the face of millions who voted Democrat to protest Bush’s War and Bush’s Big Government.

    5. It’s the fault of the American people for insisting that politicians make these inane no-tax pledges, even though a modern political state requires the amount of public investment that requires higher taxes.

      The pledge was a unfortunate but necessary requirement in order to be elected. Conditions have changed since the campaign, and the President’s heroic efforts at rescuing us from the Worst Economy Since the Great Depression? require higher taxes.

      While some may claim that polls show that the public opposes higher taxes, the polls also show that the public rightly doesn’t want essential public investments cut either. Since the public is clearly confused and irrational here, it falls to our betters to determine the appropriate outcome. Once we pass the higher taxes together with the public investment, people will like it once they see what is in it. If the American people still foolishly fail to appreciate the efforts of the President, he still will have done a noble and necessary thing.

      1. Want it all, want it now, what it cheap.

        I blame on George Forman for not paying a lot for that muffler.

        Kidding aside, the American public is irrational. More and more they want things without paying for them. It’s all about getting something for nothing. Movies and music today, government services tomorrow.

        1. Free bread and circuses work until Caesar crosses the Rubicon.

  3. Is it racist to say, “Read his lips”?

    1. Only if you mention their purple hue.

    2. No, but it would be racist to state that its in an elderly friendly font.

    3. Yes. Unless you bow down at his feet and actively state “no your majesty, a reach around is totally unnecessary”, then publicly apologize for slavery (again), you are indeed a racist.

  4. Is that Milhouse behind him? All grown up.

    1. Well, remember when the last administration decided to invest in our nation’s children? Big mistake.

  5. Letmebeclear, I have no intention of coming in your mouth.

  6. Speaking as a smoker who makes substantially less than $250K a year, Obama can suck it.

    He raised my taxes the first month in office.

    1. That was the last straw that got me to quit. I felt torn about the issue. I know that the anti-smoking zealots wanted me to quit, but I also didn’t want any more of my money going the federales and I was sick of paying for commercials that told me I was an idiot and gonna die. I’ve smoked half my life and I’m only 27, and now, I’m a month without cigs and don’t even want one.

      If you’re genuinely considering quitting too, I highly recommend the e-cig option. I’ve tried quitting a lot of times using every method I can think of, but that thing has worked wonders for me. And of course, now a bunch of states are trying to ban it. Fucking nannies.

      1. I quit for about five years and just started back about two years ago. I quit cold turkey last time, and I plan on doing it again pretty soon.

        The problem is that I really enjoy a smoke after a nice big meal or great sex. I wish I could only smoke them at those times, but as I’m sure you know once you smoke, you smoke pretty much all the time.

        Cold turkey for me coming up soon.

        1. I’m telling you man, these ecigs work for that. It really gives you the feeling of smoking (throat hit on the inhale), and the taste (although the tobacco taste is more like the smell of unsmoked tobacco than the flavor of the burning leaves). You get the nicotene, but you can get nicotene free juices. And it doesn’t have all the carcinogenic tobacco elements (although admittedly nicotene still has the stimulant cardiovascular implications associated with smoking).

      2. Yep, me too. Hating the tax man got me through the nic fits. I recently saw cartons “on sale” for $43! Jeebus. They better be lacing them with coedine for that price.

  7. Since “children” can now be carried on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26, and everyone will have free insurance anyway, I’m sure SCHIP will be repealed any day now. Once the original reason for a tax doesn’t exist anymore, the government always repeals that tax. Happens all the time. Oh, wait…

  8. FU, I am a nanny. I watch soap operas all day while the kids play outside then I go out every night with my nanny friends and some local druggie rich kids that still hang around the suburbs even after they turn 20 and presumably would be in a college somewhere. I could give 2 shits if you smoke.

    1. The Nannystate is giving real Nannies a bad name. Now to go order that DVD of “Nannies Gone Nanners!”

      1. can i request a joke-handle feature for the comments? I’m just way too incompetent to use them manually.

      2. Maybe more people would be turned off if we could get the government to laugh like Fran Drescher.

  9. I’ve got the power, I’VE GOT THE POWER TAKE IT BITCHES!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  10. So Barack Obama’s a lying fuck? Since when is that news.

  11. Is it racist to refer to him as a vainglorious butt-monkey?

    1. Yes. Unless you bow down at his feet and actively saying “no your majesty, a reach around is totally unnecessary”, then publicly apologize for slavery (again), you are indeed a racist.

    2. Yes. Unless you bow down at his feet and actively saying “no your majesty, a reach around is totally unnecessary”, then publicly apologize for slavery (again), you are indeed a racist.

    3. Yes. Unless you bow down at his feet and actively saying “no your majesty, a reach around is totally unnecessary”, then publicly apologize for slavery (again), you are indeed a racist.

    4. Yes. Unless you bow down at his feet and actively saying “no your majesty, a reach around is totally unnecessary”, then publicly apologize for slavery (again), you are indeed a racist.

    5. Yes. Unless you bow down at his feet and actively saying “no your majesty, a reach around is totally unnecessary”, then publicly apologize for slavery (again), you are indeed a racist.

  12. The President does not have the power to raise taxes, so Obama’s promise stands.

    1. Really? Because I’m pretty sure that it requires his signature. And he sure as hell has the power to veto.

      C- trolling

      1. Sudden is right – promising NOT to do something is what a RATIONAL person would assume is a promise to VETO that something. Oh yeah – now I get it – B.O. doesn’t use rational thinking.

  13. Whatever happened to the epic trolls? All we have now is fail trolls.

    1. Even the trolls are getting depressed about the way things are going?

      1. yes

  14. Anyone with half a brain and half a whit of honesty knows that the only way out of our budget woes is a mix of tax increases and spending gets, in roughly equal proportion. Grow up, get over it, and fork it over.

    1. Where, evidently, “the only way out” is defined as “the only way that a statist cocksucker like Chad is willing to countenance”.

      1. There are plenty of options. None that are even remotely realistic involve cuts alone.

        Get over it, and start deciding which types of tax increases would be least problematic. (Hint: the answers are VAT and carbon taxes).

    2. We are indeed facing massive deficits, and it is hard to imagine getting enough cuts through Congress to balance the budget without a tax hike.

      But we all know that if tax revenues go up, they will be used for new spending and not to cut the deficit. Plenty of evidence for this.

    3. You probably fall for the “doomsday” cuts that always get trotted out when times are tough. Cut the most visible services, and pretend there aren’t millions to be saved from non-attention-getting, back-end cuts.

      1. You have no idea about the budget, apparently.

        If you want to solve the problem with cuts, you MUST slash Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Defense, as they make up most of the budget in the first place.

        How does a retirement age of 73 sound? That’s the ballpark we would be talking about.

        1. The reason those things make up “most of the budget” is because they’re larded with special-interest corruption and waste. Fighting corruption and waste is hard, and doesn’t grab the public’s attention, so instead they target visible stuff in an attempt to rile the public. These trends are easier to see at the local and state level, where there are no printing presses available to make the problem go away, but they’re evident at the federal level too.

    4. We could cut up thieves like Chad and sell their organs. Surely that would help the budget crunch from both ends.

  15. “as they make up most of the budget in the first place”

    You have left off the Federal payroll. The Feds are following the same path as California, and farther into the abyss Greece and Spain: drowning under the weight and cost of their own bureaucracy.

    As you Dems are so quick to point out, the budget was (more or less) balanced under Clinton. So what “essential public services” have we gained since 1999? I’ll answer for you: none whatsoever. If you respond by bringing up the Bush tax cuts, you know very well theyr’e going to expire next year. But oh, no: to you statists that isn’t nearly enough of the nation’s productivity devoured by the State’s ravening maw.

  16. I think it is getting close to the point where “we the people” (at least the half that pay taxes) are about done feeding the beast. Maybe Atlas actually will shrug.

  17. Chad:
    “Get over it, and start deciding which types of tax increases would be least problematic. (Hint: the answers are VAT and carbon taxes).”
    English:
    “Spending cuts are unacceptable to me, because I ejaculate over state programs. Instead you should pass more taxes, especially ones that I like”.

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