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. JayG

    I cant understand why people think that raising taxes on the upper class will help the economy. People on here seem to feel that they are some how making out lovely. They already pay way more than anybody in the middle class. Why the upper 2% of society is forced to pay for everything is beyond me. Just look at your paycheck now, you think you have alot of taxes taken out, imaging making 250k a yr?? They have $100k a year taken out in taxes or more, more than double the amount the average middle class worker makes in a year and people want more taken out. The middle class is a bunch of complainers and freeloaders.

    August 4, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. Hammerer

    Obama will not fall into a trap like Bush 41.
    Obama is caught in a trap of his on making. His campaign of hate Bush, lies and class warfare has been the trap that he set and now thr truth is starting on surface and the media can not explain it all away.
    Deceit is always exposed by the bright light of truth.

    August 4, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. J

    Once the economy and job market returns
    Middle class will be able to work and making money.
    I wouldn't mind paying a extra taxes if that means cut down the deficits

    August 4, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. JP

    Our banker China would say NO someday, what then? At least in the Bush’s stimulus, we all got a handsome check of $1200 or so, but who got what for Obama’s stimulus?

    Soak the rich is fine, but the way it goes, many potential rich already started working their way backwards.

    August 4, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Dan

    Please read the story before you say the GOP is lying to beat up on the Pres. This is a CNN story which quoted Obama's top economic advisers who said they would leave the door open on middle class tax increases. The Pres. then spanked them and said there would be no taxes. If you have ever taken Economics, please explain how we can finance 2 trillion dollars for 2 programs and not raise taxes?

    August 4, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Chipster

    And......he may not.

    This is just another media created bunch of nonsense. Just because someone said that nothing is off the table, CNN decided to stir the loonies with threats of tax increases for everyone. They knew the paranoids would fall all over themselves in a panic and of course, they did.

    August 4, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. johnnie

    CNN, what did President Obama say , there will be no HIGHER TAXES on the MIDDLE CLASS, and why is Cnn always trying to create DOUBT about the President, you Cnn it is getting so OLD. The American People are in a NEW DAY, and this RIGTH WING propaganda is so SILLY. CNN your are becoming a GOP TOOL,and if your NETWORK thinks you will succeed , your in another WORLD. Cnn your playing with FIRE ,and the HEAT will come from the DECLINE from the American People, watching your Network. President Obama will WEATHER every STORM,and the President is HONEST, and says no NEW TAXES on those making 250 thounsand. Every MINUTE,cnn , lets see what we can do the discredit the President, it wont WORK. And CNN, the President is just getting STARTED on the RNC and GOP. Cnn the MISSION your on to to stop the AGENDA of the President is (FAILING). Happy Birthday Mr. President

    August 4, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Tom from AL

    To begin with all political candidates make promises they don't keep. Contrary to popular (Democratic) belief and polls the Republicans dont have a monopoly on this.
    Only the people that were stupid enough to elect Obama would continue to belive the lies that continue to come out of his mouth. To think that he continues to keep spending us into a defecit (something Democrats are good at doing) without raising taxes is stupid (another Democrate trait). He is continuing to weaken this country and trying his best to turn us into a 3rd world communist nation.

    August 4, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. marlene

    And wouldn't you love it, CNN, if you and the media would stop making up the news, the American people would be better for it. President Obama NEVER said he would raise taxes on the middle class, but it has been a never ending headline since the Sunday talk shows. Which didn't generate enough headlines, so you made up the news. We have enough misinformation being spread without your help. Fair & balanced – sure!!

    August 4, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. T

    Chicago politics as usual. When you see a politicians lips moving, it is best just to take it as the LIE it is. It figues, now that I am unemployeed and not eligible for benefits that he will try to squeeze more money out of me for a health care system and his other pet projects that are equally ignorant and wasteful. LEAVE MY HEALTH CARE ALONE! I am happy with the health care I recieve for the amount I pay, I don't want to be forced to pay for stuff I won't/don't need! For example, why should I have to fund abortions if I don't have the physical equipment that would precipitate needing one? Leave it to the private insurers, if you really want to trim costs, get rid of the illegals abusing the system, sieze all their assests and return them to port of entry and let them walk/swim/whatever back home, that goes for their families if they don't like it either. For all the bad press the US get, how come so many are breaking into our country?

    August 4, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Andi

    If some of you would grow up and take a shot of reality instead of just being against everything because you dislike OUR President, we may get something done.

    August 4, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. gina

    Private Ins company many of it is SCAM.

    August 4, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. Heidi Macumber

    Lying, lying, lying everywhere in this administration. Those dolts seem to think that we of the stupid masses are just that, stupid.
    And, yes, we were stupid to have elected this bunch of Marxists to absolutely destroy our country.

    August 4, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. bozo the obama

    the serial-liar in chief will blame this on Bush too.

    August 4, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Michael, AL

    While Geithner and Summers started this fire themselves, some in the news media are at fault as well for how they tried to twist this story as if he changed his mind (which he did not). This is just an example of how a news story that can be pushed to mean something that in the end could turn out not to be true. There are plenty of tax loopholes that have been skewed towards the wealthy that can be closed, so its not as if we have ran out of ways to raise revenue. As for health care, it's not only gonna depend on the President, Congress, and us the citizens watching, it's also gonna depend on how the pundits and reporters in the media influence this debate. One example that the media has had influence with: the lead up to the war in Iraq.

    August 4, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Nevada Joe

    "READ MY LIPS....NO MORE TAX's'"....Sound familiar...The exact words from that weasel BUSH-1....

    They will say anything and tell any lie to get elected.

    Lets see if CNN will post this???

    August 4, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Gene

    You know what.. in the end.. if the economy is back up to speed, and we're not wasting as much money "trying to bring democracy" to people who don't want it.. I would have no problem paying more taxes if it went towards reducing our national debt.

    Everyone always thinks of themselves... but we don't live in the United States of Me.

    August 4, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Rob

    Jimmy Carter's gettin his bags ready, gonna be time to move out of the cellar. Come 2013, Obama will take over the title of Worst President Ever.

    August 4, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. Bill in Calif

    WHY IN THE WORLD would you raise taxes on the electorate that voted for YOU? It's a very simple plan Dimrats, try to follow along. Since you have a blank check and a rubber stamp congress you merely ramrod all those FEEL GOOD, and financially destructive SOCIAL EXPERIMENTS thru. YOU get the all the credit as the MOST LOVED and GENEROUS Presidents who ever lived while you stick the bill to the generations not even born yet.

    August 4, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. U.S. Citizen

    The lower income (poor people) are the culprits of this economy?!!???
    Get with it you Middle Class Millionares because the Middle Class have more critical thinking skills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Middle Class America is being sent out to India, China, and Western europe!!!!! Watch out Middle Classe Millionares because the foreign workers will take your jobs too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. mfelder

    Let's stop kidding ourselves people, if these big businesses paid their fair share of taxes we wouldn't have this deficit problem. Case in point, Exxon Mobile made a 2 billion dollar profit and paid taxes of 14 million. Do the math, does that calculate out to 25 to 35%. If they had paid their proper share of taxes, they should have paid 500 Million on a 25% and $700 million on a 35% tax rate.

    August 4, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  22. Maximus

    Try to understand that while the president is trying to fulfill his promises to the people, there are other anti-progessive individuals, namely his opponents, who are standing in his way with all kind of plots and tactics, throwing critics and bad spells against him to make him fail in his bid to bring change to enhance life quality. When he comes to these evil obstacles, in his detemination to attain his goal, he has to deviate his course of action and engage different routes and strategies. And uppon doing so, his opponents seize the opportunity to say that he fails and brag that they make him change strategies. And if he comes to not attain his goal, they laugh, and dance. and chant, and party. That's why we, the people, need to remaim loyal and solidary to the president and trust his diplomacy, because he is fighting against a bunch of wicked, evil, sly, and corrupted individuals in order to bring us reliefs. Remain firm, smart, and alerted.

    August 4, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. Marc in Kansas City

    Taxes are going to be raised on everyone. It is as inevitable as the sun rising and setting. We simply cannot afford not to. How do you think we are going to pay down $11 trillion in debt? How are we going to fund government or even the military? Baby boomers retiring and soaring costs of health care and a social security trust fund expected to go in the red now in 2013. Not possible to keep this up without tax increases and spending cuts. Wake up people. We are in dire straights.

    Just soaking the rich won't do it people. I don't want higher taxes either and I want fiscal responsibility. But I refuse to allow future generations of Americans to be sold into debt bondage because we are whiners and don't want to pay our share. Time for real sacrifice and we should demand the same of our political leaders.

    August 4, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. U.S. Citizen

    What is Middle Class? Its been replaced with the Middle Class Millionaires receiving bonuses by kicking out the Middle Class jobs!!!!!
    Middle Class Millionaires watch out because your jobs will soon be replaced with foreingn workers too!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Thomas

    If President Obama raises taxes, it will bite him in the butt come next election. His campaign was based on not raising taxes on the "middle class".

    There is simply no way he can raise taxes and survive politically. I hope he knew that before making the campaign promises.

    August 4, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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