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. Mississippi Mike

    What? We are going to spend trillions of dollars on junk projects, socialize the health care industry and confiscate private companies AND pay for it too? I thought the obscenely wealthy would just pony up the extra tax money.

    August 4, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. pl

    OK so if he doesn't raise taxes for the middle class he will raise them for those making over 250K yet again, BUT the folks making over 250K are already footing the majority of taxes. How is that fair! Let just make is simple EVERYONE....YES I MEAN EVERYONE pays 10 percent. SO for you who can't do the math. 10% of 50,000 is $5000, 10% of 250,000 is $25,000. If you DEMS are so eager to get all of these social programs paid for then you should quit yelling and START PAYING TAXES....NOT GETTING BACK more than you even pay in!!!!! DEMS GROW up and be responsible...work and pay your taxes quit always looking for a handout.

    And for those of you who want to keep increasing corporate tax go ahead that will just get you laid off....

    August 4, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. Joe

    Obama is a liar! I don't care what his excuse is. Don't lie while you are campaigning and change your mind not even a year later. Go to hell Obama, I hate you.

    August 4, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. dominican mama 4 Obama

    There are other sources that Obama can tap to generate tax revenues. The cigarrette and alcohol industries come to mind. If it were at all possible he should rescind any aid given to states that have thus far refused to put to work their stimulus money. I personally, do not mind if my taxes go up a bit if it would help ensure that healthcare is made affordable to everyone. I have private insurance.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!!!

    August 4, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. GOP = 21st century dodo

    I don't mind paying higher taxes. If that's what it takes to undo the damage started by Nixon, exacerbated by Reagan, and taken to the extreme by Bush/Cheney then so be it.

    I didn't like it when my tax dollars were funneled to corporate friends of the GOP via no-bid contracts thanks to illegal wars, but I wouldn't have a problem with my tax dollars being used to bring the US up to par with the rest of the developed world.

    August 4, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. TheProgressiveBigot

    No he won't.., because we don't care about running up the debt!!

    August 4, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. RDS

    this is once again a bunch of hoopla faux outrage about nothing. Who can answer a hypothetical question different then they did. If I ask somebody can you 100% guarantee me a tornado will not hit my town in the next 5 years, they would say anything is possible.

    August 4, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. mitch

    i think this is bad. We shouls tax the low class,this is because it's there fault there poor. They could easily afford to live if they even got a job at taco bell.

    August 4, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. m jeff

    The private insurance nightmare stories are coming to an end, thanks to Obama.

    August 4, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    Check out PolitiFacts dot org. Umbama has broken quite a number of promises so far. Why will he stop now. He knows his starry eyed followers have a bout a 5 second memory so he only has to wait that long.

    Look how many times during the campaign he changed the income bar in discussions. He makes it up as he goes then claims he didn't say it. Dude we have internet access, we can see you.

    August 4, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Troy from NJ

    Its time for us to make our media more responsible. Pres. Obama did not say he would raise taxes..neither did his team on Sunday..but the media which likes to keep a 24 cable cycel going, misinforms us so they can make news. We need to push back..stop watchin and this garbage if they are not going to inform. Us...we are paying for this now..they helped Grorge Bush push his war by misinforming us. CNN I used to have respect for you, but you guys are turning into nothing but Fox and MSNBC. Lou Dobbs must be proud!!!

    August 4, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Independent thinker

    The Bush haters have spent so much time and energy demonizing the last administration that they cannot bear the possibility that Obama is no better. Time to move on, people. Smart people are tired of the stupid and childish "he's not as bad as Bush' argument. That was then, this is now. BTW – placing so much angry blame on one president speaks more to a person's ignorance about how the constitution works and less about a single leader. Obama certainly is rushng through change. We'll see how much of it turns out to be something we can beleive in. A lot of Egobamaniacs are going to have plenty of egg on their naive faces before 2012. But then again, they can blame Bush, right? Obama/Biden: One and done.

    August 4, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. Dave, Central Illinois

    Hey, all of you Libs who want higher taxes, you know there is nothing stopping YOU from paying extra taxes. It is all perfectly legal and your extra money will be appreciated by the IRS. Oh, wait, I bet you are fine with higher taxes as long as somebody else pays them. That definately describes a good part of Obama's cabinet.

    August 4, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Observant

    Break your tax promise and go back home to Chicago in 2012. Leave healthcare alone until the job market is strong period.

    August 4, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. RealityKing

    It will not matter when Obama raises taxes, because our progressively corrupt media will first be instructed to confience the mindless masses that they should be paying higher taxes. No different than the corrput influence peddled during the last election. True journalism is dead in America..

    August 4, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. makesUwonder

    I'm sure when Obama ups our taxes he'll just be Obama as usual.......blame it on Bush.

    August 4, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. HeadlessHessian

    The man said he would not. end of story!

    August 4, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Allen, Cypress, Texas

    I understand why President Obama made the pledge. It was because, he felt like the middle class had been chafted the last eight years under the most ineffective and stupid administration we've had in last 100 years. But, it still baffles me when they make such pledges knowing fully well that the economy is not static and that we need to start paying off our debt as well as eliminating our deficit spending. However, before the middle class is asked to pay for their share, let the rich, who benefitted immensely from the tax cuts of the last eight years pay their share first. They talk capitalism, but as far as they are concerned, capitalism to them is exhorbitatant profit them, but shared losses when they lose money. I'm sick and tired of "Too Big To Fail." Lets practice true Capitalism, not "Capisocialism." or admit that we're not a true capitalism and get over this stupidity.

    August 4, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Alfred E. Neumann

    And when he does, not if, raise taxes he will be a one term president.

    August 4, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. Rick

    Any fool knows that Obama can't keep spending like this an not raise taxes on the middle class.
    The idea of adding a VAT on products will only increase the cost of goods for everyone. You think those corporations are going to eat that tax? Hell no. They will pass the costs onto the consumer.

    China is going to want their money back at some point in time.
    The money has to come from somewhere.

    August 4, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Ken

    The real trap to avoid is the one where he listens to rightwing goons and their fairytales. That's the trap Bush 41 fell into....he was still trying to sell trickle-down economics, when the Reagan economic house of cards started to come tumbling down. Somebody eventually had to pay for the Reygun deficits, as he fed our money into the military industrial complex...TALK ABOUT SOCIALISM!!!!.....and Bush 41 was left holding the bad cards. Sound familiar?......now Obama is left holding the pathetic cards that a bunch of rightwing goons spent 8 years making bad.

    Like me, Obama and all of you should ignore everything these neo-idiots have to say.......they broke it yet again, and are now complaining when someone comes along with a great plan to fix it.

    August 4, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. jt

    hahaha....this is just getting better and better everytime, why do we need to talk about Bush again, Bushs' era has not over yet??? Bush did so much damage, here there everywhere, Lets not talk about Bush anymore...foucs more in the future, Obama at least has been balancing the economy and financial market and it is working somehow, thank you Mr Obama at least you are honest and put common citizens first.

    August 4, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. Claudia in Houson

    If Obama hadn't handled our economy the way he did our monetary value aka as dollars would have been converted to Euros. Our Government didn't tell us this because it would have scared off countries that lend us money and force them to call in their debt which would have caused the worst economic failure in history. Read for yourself people and know the facts before listening to Republicans who are complaining about Obama's spending. READ AND RESEARCH FOR YOURSELF TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE NOT BEING TOLD.

    August 4, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Mark

    He didn't do anything else he campaigned on so why not.

    August 4, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. Kelby

    Shouldn't you advertise this as commentary? ya know, since it is not a fact. Elephants may break out into choreographed song and dance...but it ain't gonna happen. CNN may return to the fundamentals of journalism ;) But we both know that's not gonna happen

    August 4, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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