Read My Lips -- Then Forget What You Read (Updated)
Do you remember when Barack Obama was running for president and promised he would not raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year? Well, guess what? Some of the president’s pals in Congress apparently feel no obligation to make good on his promise.
According to The Hill newspaper, several congressional Democrats are now saying they are “not bound” by the “president’s tax vow” and may push to raise “taxes on families who earn between $200,000 and $250,000.”
Let’s start with Tom Harkin, the veteran Democratic Senator from Iowa, who told the Hill that, “I’m not hard and fast on $250,000. Quite frankly, it could be somewhat lower than that.”
Then there’s California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein who told the Hill, “You could go lower – why not $200,000.” And she added: “With the debt and deficit we have, you can’t make promises to people.”
But why stop at $200,000. Why not tax American families earning $100,000 -- or less.
Which brings us to Steny Hoyer, the number two Democrat in the House, who just said that, “it would be difficult to reduce long-term deficits without breaking President Obama’s pledge to protect families earning less than $250,000 a year.”
Do you see it coming?
Hoyer added that tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush eventually will be rescinded. He said it was necessary in order to help pay for the nation's mounting deficit and that permanent tax cuts would be too costly.
"As the House and Senate debate what to do with the expiring Bush tax cuts in the coming weeks, we need to have a serious discussion about their implications for our fiscal outlook, including whether we can afford to permanently extend them before we have a real plan for long-term deficit reduction," Hoyer told a forum on deficit reduction.
Translation: Democrats probably won't be raising taxes only on the so-called "wealthy." They not only want to raise taxes on American families that earn less than $250,000 a year -- despite Obama's promise to the contrary -- but if they rescind Bush's tax cuts, there's a good chance everyone's taxes are going to go up.
So let’s see if we have this right: Politicians can't be trusted? What's next? The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are fakes too?
Okay, so candidate Obama pledges no tax hikes on the middle-class, families making less than $250,000 a year. Members of his party in Congress say, We never pledged such a thing, so we’re not bound by any promises someone else made, even if that someone else just happens to be the leader of our party and the President of the United States.
But this doesn’t let President Obama off the hook. If Democrats in Congress manage to survive a total wipeout in November, and if they somehow figure out a way to raise taxes on American families that thought they were safe, the president is going to have to make an executive decision: sign the tax increase legislation and break his pledge or veto it.
I’m with Yogi Berra: Making predictions is hard, especially when they’re about the future. But I’ll bet the ranch on this one: If Congress raises taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year, and if the president signs the law, he will be a one-term president.
The first President Bush told us to read his lips when he promised “No new taxes” -- and we did. When he went along with a tax hike, he was a goner. History has a way of repeating itself.