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August 03, 2009

Two Top Obama Economic Officials Won't Rule Out Tax Hikes

The big story that the media doesn't really seem interested in covering.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers both sidestepped questions on Obama's intentions about taxes. Geithner said the White House was not ready to rule out a tax hike to lower the federal deficit; Summers said Obama's proposed health care overhaul needs funding from somewhere.

"There is a lot that can happen over time," Summers said, adding that the administration believes "it is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out, no matter what."

During his presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly vowed "you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime." But the simple reality remains that his ambitious overhaul of how Americans receive health care -- promised without increasing the federal deficit -- must be paid for.

"If we want an economy that's going to grow in the future, people have to understand we have to bring those deficits down. And it's going to be difficult, hard for us to do. And the path to that is through health care reform," Geithner said. "We're not at the point yet where we're going to make a judgment about what it's going to take."

Clinton famously reneged on his own pledge to cut middle-class taxes by claiming the economy and budget were oh so much worse than he'd ever anticipated.

Seems Obama has already laid that predicate down.

Exactly how much fall-out there will be is hard to say. Much of the public, probably, never believed Obama when he said he wouldn't raise their taxes "a single dime." They knew he was lying, or at least suspected it.

So how much they hold it against him probably depends on how much he raises taxes. He can probably get away with a very small tax hike. More than that and it will seem like the lie it always was.

But it doesn't help his case for not-universal health care. Everyone with insurance is starting to realize that Obama's "reforms" give them nothing at all and merely cost them more in direct tax hikes and reduced services. The big selling point of ObamaCare -- "bending the curve" -- primarily benefits the federal government, and it doesn't even do that, as the CBO has found it explodes governmental costs rather than reduces them.

Obama's basically attempting to sell the public on three major initiatives the public doesn't want. He doesn't have the goodwill or political capital for even one of them.

The Pledge: Via Instapudit, here is Obama's categorical pledge.

Some apologists say he didn't mention indirect taxes, such as the increased costs cap and trade would impose. But that is silly. Having given such an emphatic and all-encompassing pledge, he can hardly now claim "But I didn't say anything about indirect pass-through taxes, now did I?"


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posted by Ace at 11:22 AM

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