The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Health Care

Gibbs: Obama Won't Raise Middle-Class Taxes

By Michael A. Fletcher
If two of President Obama's top economic advisers cracked open the door to the possibility middle-class tax increases Sunday, the White House slammed it shut on Monday.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Obama will not raise taxes on Americans earning less than $250,000 a year, even as the nation's budget deficit has surged beyond $1 trillion, a problem that policy makers agree has to eventually be wrestled under control to ensure future economic growth.

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama promised not to raise taxes on middle class Americans -- and he intends to keep that pledge, Gibbs said. "The president's clear commitment is not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year," he said.

Speaking at his daily news briefing, Gibbs responded to remarks made by top economic adviser Larry Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, both of whom seemed to leave open the possibility of middle-class tax increases to bring the deficit under control.

Asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" whether taxes could be raised for middle-income Americans, Summers was non-committal. "There is a lot that can happen over time," he said. "It is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out no matter what."

Geithner, in an interview on ABC's "This Week" program, said restructuring the U.S. health-care system is not enough to rein in the budget deficit under control, and he said tax increases could be necessary. "We can't make these judgments yet about exactly what it's going to take and how we're going to get there," Geithner said.

Gibbs said Obama swiftly put such politically volatile talk to rest during a meeting with his top economic advisers on Monday. He said the president reiterated his commitment to not raising taxes on middle-class Americans, a promise rooted in his belief that the only group of people on average to prosper economically in the past eight years were the nation's top 5 percent of income earners, while the nation's median income flat lined.

Still, the remarks from Obama's top economic advisers drew a sharp rebuke from some Republicans. "Despite the Obama campaign rhetoric, it appears that the White House may do the last thing an economy in recession should do -- increase taxes on middle-income families -- to dig itself out of the hole it's made," said Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

With health care costs rising far faster than inflation, the federal deficit is largely being driven by the growing costs of Medicare and Medicaid. But some of Obama's initiatives -- including efforts to make renewable energy profitable, to bolster education, and to remake the health care system in a way that will eventually control costs while extending coverage -- promise to put even more pressure on the deficit.

"I think the president has backed himself into a corner here," said Marc Goldwein, policy director of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "He wants big spending on health care, energy and education. And you can't get that from taxing only the top 5 percent of income earners. That makes it difficult to do tax policy."

While Obama has promised that health care reform could in the long run result in big budget savings, Goldwein said that significant new revenue is also going to be needed to shrink the deficit.

"If the president cares about the deficit and wants to make it a priority, he has to make a major budget deal at some point," he said. "On the table has to be Social Security, health reform, budget cuts and revenue. And it is going to very difficult to get that revenue from just the top sliver of the income scale."

Staff Writer Scott Wilson contributed to this report.

Posted at 5:46 PM ET on Aug 3, 2009  | Category:  Health Care
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This is hilarious! Of course middle americans will have to foot the bill, and it will come to pass in some form or the other.The spending is mind boggling as of now, and add this monstrous albatross of a health care plan, it just gets larger. We need to cut back wasteful spending, i.e. 500 million for 8 new luxury jets to fly politicians around, and similiar perks.This administration is reminiscent of a 14 yr. old with Daddy's credit card.Repeal the mega-bucks stimulus plan,(which will be fraught with graft and corruption), no more bailouts and government takeovers. The average Joe is tired and completely fed up with all this idiocy. There is more than just health care reform proposals fanning the flames of anger and disgust. This spend, spend, spend, is out of control. Yes, John Q., the bills will come in and you'll pay up, if not in taxes then some contrived method.

Posted by: inmanorj | August 10, 2009 3:14 PM

It is in the nature of jesters to speak their minds when the mood takes them, regardless of the consequences. They are neither calculating nor circumspect, and this may account for the "foolishness" often ascribed to them. Jesters are also generally of inferior social and political status and are rarely in a position (and rarely inclined) to pose a power threat. Riddle me this.

Who is the greater king's jester Biden or Gibbs?

Foolery, sir, does walk about the orb like the sun, it shines everywhere. —William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Robin Hood

Posted by: vaincre | August 7, 2009 4:21 PM

Our society will never be free from political correctness and the ever need of money for government programs, so long as we don't fight for our rights to protect our property and our families. If you want good health for you and your family, you must fight the government on first of all the curriculum in the schools. Think of how unhealthy and drastically sick they are making our children, They take away sports, art and equipment for the children. They give boys instruction on make up and earrings. They take away home economics for girls and send planned parenthood in to give them birth control, the morning after pill and abortions. They also send in so-called health officials to train educators to spot the many A.D.D. and other conditions of learning disabilities. They they send the child to a clinic to receive drug prescriptions. They don't do the right thing with a core evaluation to determine their medical and physical problems. Our political process is such that the lobbyist make the laws that will produce big financial gains for them and then pay off the politicians. The need for more and more drugs grows because people have a lack of nurturing and decency. Children do not learn morals, principals, values nor respect, and no one is willing to show these healthy life-styles to the innocent children. Our society is off balanced and off kilter.

Check em Out and Weep
Also google Boston Children's Hospital Sex Change Clinic
Also google Bill Ayers and Obama's Comprehensive Sex Education Bill
Also google Bill Ayers and learn his history
Also google Dawn Stefanowicz Out from under
Also google Planned Parenthood
There is a conspiracy to devalue our rights as citizens of the United States
There is a conspiracy to destroy the people

Al in the name of Political Correctness and Money and Power!!!

Posted by: boski66 | August 5, 2009 12:52 AM

On this the president's birthday, can anyone provide me with the street address of his birthplace?

Street name & number, city and state.
Thank you very much for your effort.

Posted by: FredCDobbs | August 4, 2009 4:32 PM

Mr Gibbs is like the Mexican general who said: We will not attack the Alamo.

Posted by: yokohlman | August 4, 2009 10:22 AM

"The president has made a very clear commitment to not raise taxes on middle-class families," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told a regular briefing.

if you want to raise our taxes, just be upfront and explain. Do not do it secretly through Cap and Trade by raising our electric bills and not disclosing the governments portion of the profit. Honesty is the best policy.

Posted by: JBfromFL | August 4, 2009 9:28 AM

Take a moment and google state income tax increases. Every level of government are going to be coming after all of us. They will be carnivorous. Obama is a liar, what a shock.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | August 3, 2009 10:36 PM

OBAMA JOKE OF THE MONTH!!! "Instead of CASH for Clunkers, he is going to revamp his healthcare plan and call it CASH for Codgers. You give Obama an old person to put to death and you get money from the government. You get extra money for every prescription med the codger was on. Hell, as a bonus Obama will let you have a baby."

Posted by: Suffer | August 3, 2009 10:18 PM

I spend about $700 per month for health insurance (and rising), if they want to raise my taxes to pay for it and I can take it off my plate I say go ahead.
I doubt it will be $700 per month

Posted by: JRM2 | August 3, 2009 7:36 PM

@Posted by: Jimbo77 : Taxes were higher under Reagan, unemployment too, but you loved him right?, RIGHT?

Posted by: JRM2 | August 3, 2009 7:32 PM

Yet another lie of "The Family" debunked!

Posted by: onestring | August 3, 2009 7:24 PM

Read my lips, I won't raise your taxes even a dime! Yah right. All he has to do is let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2011 and bingo your taxes go up. But technically the Prez can say he didn't raise them.

Geithner and Sommers already let the cat out of the bag just not how it will be done.

Count on it, your income taxes are going up in 2011 and the stealth other than income taxes before that.

Posted by: Jimbo77 | August 3, 2009 7:20 PM

There is a $1.8 trillion shortfall this year and Asian lending sources are not game to supply dollars for our spending habits this time. So either the US prints more money, which increases the rate of inflation, or it gouges it out of taxpayers -- the top wage earners says the Administration. But there is simply no way this can be done. The top 5% income bracket, making $160,000 or more adjusted gross income (there are ~7 million of these so-called wealthy Americans) must see their tax rate jump from ~20% to 80% to make up for the $1.8 trillion that is over budget. That is quite a bit lower than the $250,000 income figure the Administration uses. A family making $160,000 would be left with just $26,000 to live on. Efforts should focus on cutting spending, not raising taxes. Start with the fat defense spending, which represents 54% of the current annual budget, and with doctors who prescribe ~$700 billion of needless care (Congressional Budget Office).

Posted by: billsardi | August 3, 2009 7:13 PM

Boris-I see you understand.

Posted by: MarvinMartian | August 3, 2009 7:13 PM

Dear Patrick, thank you for your service, but Obama had nothing to do with you getting in and going to school. Dear Patrick-are you stupid or did you just fall on your head. nObama is a Marxist Socialist bastard and he IS LYING to you. Have you ever heard of Saul Alinski? EVERYTHING HE HAS DONE IS ION THE HANDBOOK. He has hidden nothing if you care to go back a ways and listen to him and read his stuff. He HATES America and wants to ruin her. Everything he does is meant to destroy America and turn her into Amerika.

Wake up dear Patric and smell the sulphur.

Posted by: MarvinMartian | August 3, 2009 7:11 PM

SURE, Obama won't raise taxes on the Middle-Class. (executive branch)

Congress will raise taxes on the Middle-Class. (legislative branch)

Obama will just claim that he has no choice but to go along with it.

The Washington Post will cover for Obama and will spin the story any way the White House wants. (propaganda branch)

Posted by: BorisB1 | August 3, 2009 7:08 PM

Can you saying,:lying MotherF***ERS. I hope all you middle class SOBs that voted for 'change' are out of KY. I hope you squeal like a stuck pig when nObama sticks it to you.

Posted by: MarvinMartian | August 3, 2009 7:03 PM

I'm happy with the President Obama. He sticks to his words. The veterans should be able to go back to school if they want to. I served in the Air Force and they paid my way through college and I went on to get a Masters. There are people that go into the military that aren't born with a silver spoon in their mouths. As a matter of fact it is probably most of them now since it is volunteers.

Posted by: patrick8 | August 3, 2009 6:56 PM

Sure, Barry, sure.

Posted by: rg019571 | August 3, 2009 6:43 PM

For you doubters who think Obama won't keep his promise to not raise taxes on those making under $250k, I have news for you: he CAN do it.

Here's how, using an example: the Democrats in the Senate bragged about how they reduced $100 million from the proposal they are finalizing. But here's the game: they didn't really reduce it, they just transferred more of the burden for these new costs to the states. Read: unfunded mandates.

So when all is said and done, don't doubt Obama when he says they can do all this without raising your taxes. Truth is, HE won't raise your taxes...but he'll shift such a burden of costs to the states that they will be forced to raise your taxes at the state level to be able to shoulder what Obama forces on them.

Which will allow Obama to claim passage of health insurance reform without (directly) raising your taxes. And the lap-dog media will never raise a hand in question....

Posted by: dbw1 | August 3, 2009 6:40 PM

Oh great black box, please guide us through our time of need. We ask of you, please fill our heads with more unnecessary crap. We ask that you prescribe us with more pills to better understand you, black box. We ask that you continue to tell us how to live our life and tell us of the things that we may buy to keep this money moving. And last of all little black box.

We ask that you fill our hearts with more lies and more deceit so that we may continue to feed the rich and make them better than every other human being!

May the Box bless us all and train us all to be better consumers?

Posted by: PhotoMaineAC | August 3, 2009 6:35 PM

Makes you wonder what euphemism will be used in place of "tax increase" to describe the increase I see in my taxes

Posted by: dbbenson | August 3, 2009 6:33 PM

This is a friggen joke.

Let's see, we are borrowing (at least) 50 cents out of every dollar necessary to operate the government, but everybody making less than $250k is exempt from paying for it.

This isn't economics. This is not leadership.

This is a joke.

Posted by: SwellLevel5 | August 3, 2009 6:25 PM

This story is nothing more than a media-generated contrivance. Neither Geithner nor Summers ever hinted at tax increases. Revenue will need to be generated, but it will obviously not come from hikes on the middle-class. Remember, McCain was the candidate who proposed middle-class taxes - on health insurance.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | August 3, 2009 6:25 PM

"When will Americans say "enough"?
Posted by: srpinpgh | August 3, 2009 6:06 PM"
Right now, taxes are lower than during Reagan's years, unemployment is lower too.

But you loved Reagan, right?, Right?

Posted by: JRM2 | August 3, 2009 6:21 PM

How DUMB does the Administration think taxpayers are? Of course taxes will rise; they have to. Just "taxing the rich" won't work; there's not enough of them (and there will be far fewer by the end of the downturn) to cover the massive spending. Just like 1913 and the Sixteenth Amendment, the government starts by claiming it will "soak the rich" and the level equating to "rich" will just keep falling until the taxes affect everyone. Just before the November election, VP Biden stated he believed "rich" was $75K, or less than Congress makes (heaven forbid it includes them, though).

When will Americans say "enough"? Will American Idol have to go on hiatus for Americans to wake up to the fact the government's financially enslaving them for the rest of their, and their children's and grandchildren's (the great Democratic bugaboo), lives?

Posted by: srpinpgh | August 3, 2009 6:06 PM

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