August 4th, 2009
10:20 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama may fall into Bush 41 tax trap

President Obama has said he will not raise taxes on those making $250,000 or less.
President Obama has said he will not raise taxes on those making $250,000 or less.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - "Read my lips: No new taxes."

That famous phrase from George H.W. Bush came as he accepted his party's presidential nomination at the Republican National Committee convention in 1988.

At the time, it was exactly the red meat Republicans were looking for. But campaigning and governing are two very different things.

Bush was elected as the nation was slipping into a recession. When confronted with a growing national deficit, he had to find a source of revenue.

That revenue came in the way of raising taxes, a move that especially rankled members of the GOP and became an issue for Democrats to run on in 1992. Democrat Bill Clinton was swept into the White House.

Pushing forward to 2009, another president may have trekked onto the same territory.

On Monday, the White House sought to shoot down concerns that middle-class families may face a tax increase in order to combat rising deficits and a struggling economy after its two top money men floated the idea that tax increases to fund the nation's economic recovery could extend beyond the wealthiest Americans.

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Filed under: President Bush • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Rich

    People need to start talking about their experiences with insurance companies. They need to talk about how the insurance companies have denied their claims based on pre-existing conditions. They need to talk about how they are going bankrupt because they got sick. I also find it interesting how people are easily scared by rich people. Why do people think rich people and insurance companies are fighting so hard to stop health care reform. It is because of the size of profits they are making from health insurance. If you do not believe me than look up the profits from health insurance providers. Educate yourself! Don't believe all the scare tactics. I used to work at an insurance company and trust me they have people dedicaded to looking through medical records to deny claims based on pre-existing conditions. If people would like information about what everything means in their health policy they can call a health insurance advocate. I encourage people to call and advocate and then tell me if you are one illness away from bankrupcy.

    August 4, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. Lynne

    This is a media and republican driven story...anything to create controversy and confuse voters.

    August 4, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. Zaley

    I don't think so....wishing thinking for the GOP.

    August 4, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Ben

    Are you so gullible as to think he would not lie. Two Obama administration officials talked about not taking any taxes off the table this weekend. Those comments were a trial balloon and they got bit by their constituents on Monday so they backtracked. Only the SHEEP from the Obamanation could believe the Rich can pay in entirety for his obscene agenda. Get your Checkbook.

    August 4, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. tt

    Makes no difference how the White House tries to spin this issue. The facts are what they are: a public system will not have to compete and will destroy private health insurance. The result will be just as Obama stated. I don't care what lies he is telling AARP.

    August 4, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. George

    This will not happen. The republicans hope it will, but Obama will keep his word, unlike Bush 41. The republicans hope America fails.
    That's how much they care about our great country. They are victums of their own arrogance and stupidity. America will get better as the GOP fades into the sunset!!!!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. CF

    This is just speculation. There is nothing backing up this claim. I believe Obama is committed to not raising taxes on the middle and lower class. Whatsmore, he's smart enough to know that if he does, it will kill him politically.

    August 4, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. Jon

    There story should be fixed to give the whole story. Bush 41 wanted to lower federal spending, not raise taxes. However, he had a democrat controlled congress that would not let him. The deficit was important to him though, so he did it the only way he could with dems, raise taxes. Too bad Bush 41 did not have Bush 43's congress. Bush 43 was not a fiscal conservative at all.

    August 4, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. JAY

    Obama and the government are finding out that if you lie about
    something , the truth will catch up to you, and you will lose in the end.

    August 4, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. Jon

    At least in this case my tax money will go toward providing much needed health care to Americans instead of bombs to kill foreign citizens. The government needs to pass health care reform so that there is no longer an insurance company employee standing between me and my doctor, determining what treatments I "qualify" for.

    August 4, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. kishen c.rao

    GOP drama...that's it...white house clearly said no taxes...yesterday..but if they want let them raise who make more than 200k instead of 250k...they need to fix the Health care and fix it now...ok..

    August 4, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. pat c

    please republicans and non-trusting dems....just read the bill! i have insurance and what this will do for me and all others that feel there premiums are going up every six months will get the cost down for us so that if we are happy with our plan we can keep it but get it cheaper.
    it will help my daughter because she now has an existing problem that NO carrier will insure. she basically has to work just to pay her medical costs. it would be wonderful to see her get insurance to improve her quality of life. the republicans have distorted this beyond belief and most can't tell you what is even in the bill. they are all working to keep the big insurance companys fat &happy so they can get their hands on money themselves. please just read the bill and then deside for yourselves.

    August 4, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. Laidetea

    I am not going to be tricked by GOP propaganda again. I want the tax cuts to be fair with all americans not some. Healthcare system is the number culprit that needs readjustments.

    Happy Birthday Mr. President.

    August 4, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    I have to give the republicans credit where credit is due. The GOP is one nasty party, fueling one controversy after another in hopes that something will stick.

    After all the hoopla over the polls last month, looks as if President Obama's polls have made a bit of a comeback over the past week. Gallup has him at 56%.

    As a middle class citizen, I can understand the need to raise taxes. Had taxes been raised, say, 5-6 years ago, perhaps we wouldn't be in the situation we are in today.

    However, I would rather the taxes of those who have reaped the benefits of "no new taxes" - the wealthiest of the wealthy - get their just deserts first.

    I and mine are tired of eating cake.

    August 4, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Kelby

    Only the truly greedy worry about tax increases.

    August 4, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. yuri

    But there is a difference-GHWB did not know the price of one gallon milk, and hopefully, BHO might know it.

    August 4, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. sandy

    I worked for 25 years in a hospital billing area and I can tell you horror stories about working to obtain payment from insurance companies for patients. They try every trick in the book to deny a claim. I have personally dealt with these insurance companies on behalf of patients who become so frustrated and who also do not understand the benefits they have in their polices. If nothing else is accompllished, I do hope this president can do something to make these insurance companies be honest. Believe me, they are not honest.

    August 4, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  18. Larr of Boston

    Mr President "Not one dime of new taxes of any kind if you earn less than $250,000" That is what you told us 10+ times. That is what you PROMISED 20+ times. That is what you PLEDGED 50+ times.

    I expect you to keep your word. I expect you to keep your promise to America. I expect you to keep your pledge to America.

    If my taxes go up, you have lost this life long Democrat for good, and that vote I gave you last November goes to ASNY Republican; and that $200 I gave you last October, goes to ANY Republican

    August 4, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. John Black Hills/SD

    No he won't. It's the rich who live off the work of real people who Obama will make pay their fair share. Fair Share!

    August 4, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  20. b franklin

    Let's get real....No one would listen during the campaign when McCain and Palin told you that Obama would have to raise taxes to pay for all of the spending he was proposing. He is taking our country down a path that will be difficult to recover from. It all sounds nice, everything for everybody, but it is not realistic. We've still got at least 3 1/2 years of this to come. God help us all.

    August 4, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Kevin in Ohio

    What's good for the goose..... in 1992, democrats in Congress backed Bush in to a corner he could not get out of. Remember, Congress was democrat controlled back then. Result? Bush lost because more Americans than not believed the lies being spewed forth. The only difference now is that Obama is the one who has been LYING from the start.

    August 4, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. Lauren

    I think taxes should be raised on the large corporations in addition to making it illegal to hide money outside the country in order to avoid taxes. I think the middle class has been screwed enough in this country and it's time we got some breaks.

    August 4, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. chuck

    George H W Bush made his campaign promise in good faith. But when his financial advosors presented the facts to him, he did what he thought was right for the country and not what was politically expedient. Barack Obama may face a similar conflicted choice. He may have to choose the harder right over the easier wrong. I believe it will be a defining moment for him as a leader.

    August 4, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  24. Robert

    Considering the US government gave out 64 Billion dollars in free money, and 50% of the individuals making under 50K did not even pay income tax last year, I don't see why Obama shouldn't raise taxes.

    BTW, the top 1% of the earner in the US paid over 40% of the tax liability of all US taxpayers (over 95% of all filers). So don't think the taxes you pay are anywhere as bad as theirs are.

    August 4, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  25. xavier

    All this Obama bashing is just hapless noise coming from the republican mouth piece machinery. In the end it is full of hot air. The GOP knows that if Obama can accomplish even just half of his goals they are done for, hence all the drama from the GOP.

    G.O.P. = Grumpy Old Party

    August 4, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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