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.

Full Story


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

    Any member of congress who votes for any tax increase loses my vote on election day. If President Obama signs any bill that causes a tax increase he loses my vote as well. NO MORE TAXES!!!!

    August 4, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    CNN has successfully disenfranchised a viewer for censoring my comments. I like MSNBC anyway. Farewell CNN. Tough luck not getting branded as Fox Jr.

    August 4, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. RealityKing

    Obama lied and America is financially dying...

    August 4, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. Melissa

    Whether people live or die shouldn't be a "for profit only" venture. Living or dying is NOT a privilege.

    August 4, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. Andrea

    The insurance companies are in it for the money. Period. They don't give a hoot about the customers needs. Not one iota. The idea that you pay premiums and can't get any service is ludicrous! Please bring on the reform and bring it quickly. And there is no reason whatsoever why anyone in this vast, rich nation should be without basic health care. Ridiculous.

    August 4, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Correction: Bush, Sr. said "Know New Taxes"

    August 4, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. AndyL

    Spend, tax and blame the old administration. No change here, just regular democrat policies.

    August 4, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. stormerF

    Obama,,,does not need to fall into Bush 41's tax trap,Obama has already lied too much to be credible...How can Obama say what this Health care bill will do and will not do when it is not even in final draft form and has already had 100 changes made to it?Plus Obama has not even read it Yet........We need Tort Reform first,to reduce the health care insurance and Medical care costs. A loser pays system will do away with all the frivolous law suits and reduce costs.

    August 4, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. J.P.

    Read *MY* lips:
    No Second Term

    August 4, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Lotta Muni

    We can only hope that people will wake up and see that none of Obama's promises are worth a plugged nickel. I can't think of one that he's kept, but there's a long list of campaign pledges that have fallen this side or that.

    August 4, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. CF

    Hey, everyone? This isn't a story saying that Obama is going to raise taxes. It's speculation by *one person* and his opinion on what *may* happen. It's no more valid than if I said "Bigfoot and Loch Ness Monster MAY have dinner with President Obama this weekend."

    Historical fact time: Bush's "no more taxes" was nothing more than a campaign pledge; neither he nor the Republicans as a whole have ever cared about the middle and lower class, or lowering taxes for anyone but the rich. Obama, on the other hand, has worked for middle and lower class *for his entire political career* and built himself on that virtue. The last thing he would do is raise taxes on those who can't afford to pay more taxes.

    August 4, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. B

    This is the end result of mindless greed, from americans spending with plastic like they were making millions, and corporations loving it as they watch the fools go into debt.... It is all about uncontrolled greed, and absolutely no responsibility, personal , government, local or national.

    Free Markets work well with responsible over- site, and go to Hell very fast without it...

    August 4, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Willy Brown

    I hope his programs FAIL!!!!

    August 4, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. Gator

    Don't be fooled (again) by the promise of not raising the middle class tax rates.They knew all along they would have to tax the middle class to fund all the give away programs they had planned. And they show no signs of slowing down the incredibly wasteful spending. The cash for clunkers program is just such a waste.Some of the people getting these new cars are also getting a car note that they may not can afford and probably will default on anyway.

    August 4, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Naomi

    Tax, buzz buzz, get scared now!

    August 4, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. simp

    The only trap being set here is the one CNN is trying to set. The President did not say he would raise taxes on the middle class to fund the healthcare plan. Would you people report the news and stop making it up? I watch MSNBC and I have to say I see more news being reported and not crap being made up like you all do at CNN. Soledad O'brien is the only real new person on this network, she does an amazing job on the stories she covers. Maybe the rest of you at CNN can try actually getting the fact and stop spreading these ficious lies and scare tatics.

    August 4, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Keith in Austin

    No pocket CHANGE you can believe in? Thank you Bleeding Heart Democrats for voting this clown into office!

    August 4, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Grizzly

    First, I find it amazing that several of the comments on this story want to blame the republicans for spreading the middle tax class increase story. You need to blame President Obama's top two advisors for letting that cat out of the bag Sunday.

    Second. of course he will have to raise taxes on almost everyone in an effort to reduce the deficit. We can't keep increasing the deficit like this forever. However, the issue isn't that we need to increase tax revenue. The issue is that we need to stop spending so much. What happened to the pledge from President Obama to review the budget "line by line" to eliminate waste and reduce spending? So far, no one in Washington has the ability to read their own bills, much less perform an exhaustive review of the federal budget.

    August 4, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Phat Elvis

    20 years of shipping good jobs to other countries and replacing them with service sector jobs. Are we all really surprised the economy finally tanked?

    The model was unsustainable, that's why Bush borrowed 6 TRILLION DOLLARS during his administration.

    August 4, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. Al Smith

    I am a 22 years old and I think Obama has no idea what he is doing. I pay for my insurance, yes it is expensive, but I make it work. I also live knowing that if something happens and I have to get medical treatment i will still get the BEST MEDICAL CARE IN THE WORLD! People come here to get treated because our medical system has allowed us to specialize in feilds.

    In order for his socialized medicine to work Obama would have to raise taxes.

    I already pay enough taxes for things I don't believe in.

    Oh and before any of you braindwashed political party fanatics start attacking...I am INDEPENDENT. I vote all sides.

    August 4, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Pepou

    I would GLADLY pay more taxes in return for good health care and education. Like they do in other countries in Europe.

    August 4, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. tony

    the gop is a dead party why do you people listen to them

    August 4, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. JJ in Chula Vista, CA

    The Republican disinformation machine is in full gear nowadays.

    Why? Because it works for them. Scare the American people into believing one thing or another that's completely and utterly untrue, and they'll surely win votes next election.

    Democrats have shown a weak spine in the past against this Republican/conservative tactic. Republicans are worried about their party's future election prospects, and it shows.

    August 4, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. Jay

    This "tax" thing is just another way for the GOP to mislead, scare, & side step pass the real issue. I wish folks would turn off the television & start reading. Healthcare in the US is ridiculous! We need reform & we need it now!

    August 4, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. TAL, Dallas, TX

    I'm okay if my taxes increase to fund the initiatives the president hoped to implement. I'm middle class. I'm still planning to vote for him again in 2012. He's no HW Bush!

    August 4, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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