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