August 3rd, 2009
02:54 PM ET
5 years ago

White House steadfast on pledge of no middle-class tax increase

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The White House shot down concerns Monday that middle-class families may face a tax increase in order to combat rising deficits and a struggling economy.

"The president was clear during the campaign about his commitment on not raising taxes on middle-class families," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday afternoon. "I don't think any economist would believe that, in the environment that we're in, that raising taxes on middle-class families would make any sense."

The concern came after the Obama administration's two top money men floated the idea that tax increases to fund the nation's economic recovery could extend beyond the wealthiest Americans.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council, said Sunday they could no longer guarantee the middle class will be spared a tax increase.

"We have to do what's necessary," Geithner said on ABC's "This Week." "The critical thing is people understand that when we have recovery established - led by the private sector - and we have to bring these deficits down very dramatically ... we have to bring them down to a level where the amount we're borrowing from the world is stable and at a reasonable level."

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Filed under: President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. D. Tree

    All these people acting like Democrats are going to raise taxes on hardworking people is nonsense. It amazes me how middle class and poor people can support the Republican Party against their own interests.

    August 3, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. yuri

    Middle class will, forsooth, be mad and will make mayhem if their taxes are touched. BHO will not be able to get away with his scholarly solace to those people after raising their taxes.

    August 3, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Chipster

    Actually, Obama didn't say that middle class taxes would increase. This was a "media projected" statement – sort of a "what if" thrown out by the media to stir controversy and generate ratings.

    They do that a lot. It's sort of a self-interest thing for the media to keep people stirred up. When an adviser says "nothing is off the table," the media projects whatever they can think of that will initiate a response from the public.

    We're like Pavlov's Dogs – we always respond.

    August 3, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Simon/Orlando

    I will guarantee that a middle class tax raise is on the way. If not, why didn't he just say it was definitely not going to happen. This is a typical political "bait and switch' game.

    August 3, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. malclave

    What about Obama's Health Care Television Special where the One indicated that taxing the middle class was fine with him?

    The Obama Administration is clearly just pandering when it makes its "pledge", but that's nothing new.

    And lib "journalists" like those at CNN are too stupid to see it, or even to care.

    August 3, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. TCM

    IT's not patriotic to pay taxes...that's one of the stupidest things that's been said; patriotism is independent of one's wealth.

    What Obama will do, in his typical lying fashion, is to simply change the definition of what the middle class is; he'll move it down to about 25k a year, and that way, he'll stay true to his word and not tax the middle class, but anyone else who know doesn't fall into that class will be taxed...

    August 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. valwayne

    So who is lying, Geithner and Summers, or Gibbs? We're in the middle of a recession with unemployment at 9.5% and shooting up like a rocket and saddled with corrupt spending that's led to massive amounts of debt and printed money. Shouldn't Obama's 2 top economic advisers, including his Sec of the Treasury, know when they go on weekend news shows whether Obama is going to raise taxes on the middle class? Why do they indicate it will happen then Obama's press secretary says they don't know what they're talking about. Does anybody talk to each other in the White House? George Bush may have mishandled hurricane Katrina, but it looks like a blessing that these Key Stone Cops weren't involved back then. It clearly could have been worse!

    August 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Alan Smith

    The rich need to pay their fair share.

    I am hoping this trial balloon was floated to get middle American red staters angry and supportive of a major tax hike on the rich.

    August 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. nom deplume, esq.

    A bad move politically on more than one count.

    First, it contradicts the campaign promise. No one expects him to keep it (and he has already broken it), but such a statement so soon after passing a budget-busting Porkulus bill sends the message that the Prez really didn't believe what he was selling;

    Second, by delaying a tax hike on more people, he loses the opportunity to blame it on Bush. Oh, the Hopeium smokers will continue to blame the economy, global warming, solar flares, acne, the sinking of the Titanic, on Bush, but only the Hopeium smokers and welfare queens will still believe it after the mid-terms. Once that tax hike becomes inevitable, it will be Obama's baby.

    Reformed Republican should put down the hopeium pipe and pick up another one. We can always meet in Weehawken and settle it like men.

    August 3, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. single mom

    Here we go again. The White House two-step, smoke and mirrors routine.
    Is anyone going to be allowed to read this bill? You know, the way they didn't let anyone read the TARP bill and tried to hide the health care bill?

    August 3, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Phat Elvis

    Putting 2 wars, No child left behind, prescription drug benefits and tax cuts for the richest americans on a credit card sure has a way of screwing up an economy.

    if we have to pay more taxes its because of these giveaways that the Bush administration created.

    Don't be fooled by the GOP propaganda machine!!!

    August 3, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Dave in Illinois

    President Obama better opne his history book and look up "Read my lips, no new taxes" and see what happens to Presidens that break their tax promises. Of course, if he can get enough people not paying any taxes to re-elect him then what does he care.

    August 3, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Sam Sixpack

    By the way:

    The cash-for-clunkers program doesn't raise taxes on the middle class, it does, however, deny poor people cars they might otherwise afford. Oh well, they're just poor people, they like to be abused.

    On the other hand, you too will soon be a poor person.

    Why don't we hear anything about what's happending to poor people?

    August 3, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Folks, it's like this: Considering all we have been promised and all we have come to expect (as entitlements), over the next decade or so there is either going to be HUGE broken promises or HUGE tax increases on EVERYONE across the board. Do the math. Something has to give. If something doesn't give, we are going to find ourselves in an economic catastrophy that will make the Great Depression look like a first piano lesson. I'm getting the feeling our entire government is nothing but one big Ponzi scheme.

    August 3, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. bozo the obama

    and the white house wants me to believe a pathological liar ?

    August 3, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. rachel

    Humm somehow I don't beleive them. If he goes back on his word maybe we all can just forget to claim some of our income like the secretary of treasury and the secretary of health and human services.

    August 3, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Dan, TX

    Here we go again, the news media needs controversy to make money, so they invent it.

    August 3, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. seebofubar

    To ABC
    Don't wory about trickle down economics with this administration. What you have to worry about now is tricke up poverty.

    August 3, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. Bedtime for Obonzo

    "I don't think any economist would believe that, in the environment that we're in, that raising taxes on middle-class families would make any sense" said Gibbs.

    And why does raising taxes on upper-class families "make any sense"? Because there aren't enough of them to make a difference at the ballot box? Don't worry - we'll all soon be sharing the burden, thanks to the "cap and tax" on ALL energy sources that emit carbon.

    August 3, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. Bob in Pa

    You get the feeling that this administration is going for the whole enchilada.

    With their CAP and Trade, the auto industry takeovers, and increasing control over banks they want to tell us were and how to live, the types of cars we can drive, and with health care when we can be born and when we are to die. And when we go, our houses and cars will revert back to the good ole USSA.

    August 3, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Four and The Door

    A Value Added Tax ( VAT ) is absolutely a tax on the middle class and anyone else who is a consumer. It just insults the intelligence of the middle class by pretending it's not really a tax on them and ends up being just a political game. No surprise here. That is a key 'talent' of this administration. Why else would Hillary Clinton be Secretary of State?

    August 3, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. Sam Sixpack

    Asked point blank whether it was right to suggest it is a matter of when, not if, taxes will be raised, Geithner responded, "It is absolutely right."

    Oopsy! Somebody forgot to include that in the article.

    Oopsy! Somebody deleted my last comment pointing out the omission.

    Oopsy! Somebody let this comment slip through!

    August 3, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Fort Lauderdale

    Obama's administration is already getting an average D from the CNN 200 days poll (if you didn't put in your vote, do it now). Any further mention of tax cuts will turn the D into an F. Congress is doing as badly as the President in the poll, and so are his economic policies. Even I am surprised. I thought my D would be very harsh.

    Only the extremely foolish would not learn from this poll and from the comments to articles on this website as well as MSN and the NY Times. Even the thought of tax cuts and Obama better resign or he will be thrown out.

    August 3, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Fla.

    Good to see the White House put an end to media exaggerations & drama spin of Geitner's interview.

    He said we CAN'T (wingers, that means cannot) make these judgments when Stephenapolous tried to imply false assumptions.

    Anyway, This Week lost credibility yesterday by having right-wing fringe, Michelle Malkin, on its program. No thanks.

    August 3, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. Mich

    Dear Mr. Presdient
    I'm so glad you had no lobbist in your admin..... oh sorry strike that. I'm so glad that you are not going to socialize......oh sorry strike that. I'm so glad that you kept your promise that you gave when you were a senator that you would read every bill.......oh sorry strike that. I'm glad that you kept your promise that you wouldn't ram everything through congress........oh sorry strike that to. I'm so glad that you kept your promise that you would raise classes on the middle class......stri

    August 3, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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