August 4th, 2009
10:20 AM ET
9 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. 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 |
  2. Joe Six

    We read Obama's lips and that is why he was elected. But I really do hope that Obama raises taxes on those making between $50,000 and $250,000. It is needed to pay for all the stimulus and health care/insurance reform. Covering 50 million people for free will cost taxpayers alot of money. Even if Obama confiscates every penny of Bill Gates' and Warren Buffet's wealth he will be way short. Only by raising taxes now can he avoid dumping the entire cost on our children.

    August 4, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. moderate

    My dear President:

    I am sure that you are true to your promise, that no taxes on middle class.

    August 4, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. Henry Miller

    "...And that means lowering the volume on the talk of no new taxes."

    No it most emphatically does not! It means raising the volume on no new "services" like health care! It means raising the volume on efforts to cut back on existing government "services!"

    The Federal government is a bloated, obese, monster that needs to be put on a starvation diet, at least until the national debt is paid off–and then kept on a healthy diet to keep it from outrageously again.

    August 4, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. Henry Miller

    "...And that means lowering the volume on the talk of no new taxes."

    No it most emphatically does not! It means raising the volume on no new "services" like health care! It means raising the volume on efforts to cut back on existing government "services!"

    The Federal government is a bloated, obese, monster that needs to be put on a starvation diet, at least until the national debt is paid off–and then kept on a healthy diet to keep it from growing again to outrageous proportions.

    August 4, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. dg

    the middle class...what is left of us get stuck paying the bulk of will never change...get used to it...remember the politicians got us into this mess...there are no promises that follow through in govt

    August 4, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. Here it comes......PALIN !!

    Some facts for you consider before you use those tired blanket statements.

    80 % of the country's wealth comes from SMALL business,

    The so-called rich number 1.4 million out of approx 400 million citizens,

    Those same 1.4 million citizens pay over half of all of our taxes.

    If you took EVERY dime that the rich make , you wouldn't come close to having enough to pay for what this administration has ALREADY done.
    And now a question for you ...... Please define for me a Tax cut for the rich, I have yet to be able to find one of those on the books anywhere.

    August 4, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Alan

    Unfortunately, Obama could sacrifice his daughters on an alter and 90% of his followers would still vote for him.

    This tax thing is just the latest in a whole string of lies and it hasn't changed many minds.

    I see him getting reelected.

    August 4, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Marc in Kansas City

    To all you republicans out there so supportive of Bush: He doubled the national debt under his watch. Since you were so supportive of him in his eight year struggle to bankrupt the country, you no doubt will gladly help pay that portion of the debt down right?

    This country is in deep trouble; from our education system to our political system. We are screwed. Bush screwed us, Obama is screwing us, the republicans and the democrats continue to screw us. Now we have to pay for their stupidity, their arrogance, their negligence, and their cowardice.

    All you people want to do is act like everything is honkey dorey and go back to your stupid TVs and rot your brains some more. Fine. Don't complain when it all falls apart.

    Another thing, we have to raise taxes to just keep up with the $300 billion a year and rising interest on debt bill. How's that for wasted money?

    August 4, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Good one

    More spin by the media.


    August 4, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. jon

    Tax and spend...nothing new here.

    August 4, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. GG

    What were Obama's campaign promises....just curious..anyone?

    August 4, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. Gary

    Allen – incredible that you think the middle class has been shafted and that the weathy don't pay their share of taxes and benefitted from huge tax cuts. So what part of 35% marginal tax for the wealthy with deductions trimmed to nothing do you feel is not a "fair" share. Are you paying 35% marginal tax with your exemptions phased out? If not, then you are the one not paying your fair share.

    August 4, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. girlsouth

    As a Democrat, I don't think the passage is a plot, just a theory.
    I think the President will do what he can to protect the incomes of middle class Americans.

    August 4, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. B

    I think Obama could make huge cost cuts in defense spending on procurement

    August 4, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Addy

    The GOP is wishful thinking......

    August 4, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Jim

    Government's (bi-partisan) track record with programs they manage:

    Medicare: broke and mis-managed
    Medicade: broke and mis-managed
    Social Security: broke and mismanaged
    VA Hospitals: broke, mis-managed and a nightmare
    US Postal service: losing millions daily

    What makes any of you believe that they can manage healthcare in this country? Please give me 1 fact, 1 thing government has ever interveined with that has worked. Just one...

    It took the federal government 5 days to get water to the superdome after Katrina. 5 days. Its not a Bush thing, its not an Obama thing, its not a Republican thing, its not a Democrat thing.

    If you think your experiences with private insurance companies have been bad, you havent seen anything yet. Just've been warned.

    August 4, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. gee

    I don't trust his big mouth anymore!

    August 4, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Harley

    Obama lies !!!! He will take from hard working people by raising TAXES, and give to the lazy people , and the illegals here in the U.S. so I think I will quite work, and have he take care of me !!! It proves he is a MARXIST !!!!!

    August 4, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. dentri

    VIVA LA Comunsim ! OBama will destroy America.Firtst how i know my friends they use it beg to came in United States pay big money for visa now.everybody is running....America si still Bless by God because has Good people still.But this guy he love to destroy america .His apology are every where how sorry he feel for what Bush did Saving the country like Iraq.But he din't apologieze when he make a white police officer Stupid...Update.Chavez close 34 radio Stations in Venezuela .Obama may close same too he became to unpopular so far,He like to be the Mesiah................

    August 4, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Brady

    I doubt that taxes on the middle class will be raised, but if they are, then it's political suicide for the Democrats. It doesn't matter if the country needs it, it doesn't matter if it's necessary. It will kill Obama's second term and it will kill the Democrats' supermajority in Congress.

    I am not making a statement about the validity of a tax hike on the middle class. I'm saying that a tax hike on the middle class will end the Obama administration.

    August 4, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. Denise

    Obama is foolish to think that we would forget he said he wouldn’t raise taxes. He needs to feel the heat that rest of us feels every month when we struggle to pay our bills. I cut my spending to be in line with my income. I work very hard for my money, as do most Americans. We are all under pressure to keep ourselves afloat. I don't want to pay more taxes for programs that didn't help me. I have moved from the working class to the working poor. Obama has NOT DONE ONE thing for my family or me since he took office.

    August 4, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  23. Jack

    Obama has already made the mistake about his tax pledge. It is just a matter of time until his party is weakened in Congress because of it. It is also only a matter of time until his own re-election becomes a hard sell because he will have to break this promise.

    Obama cant get healthcare, and no tax increase on the middle class. He will either fail at health care, because of his promise, or break his promise.

    Either way, he will be hard to re-elect.

    August 4, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. Bill

    I'd STILL stand in line 4 hours to reelect Obama any day compared to what the GOP is NOT offering.

    August 4, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. Bring back Bill

    Say what you want about President Clinton, but he was a fiscal conservative able to accomplish his agenda and turn a surplus. Obama is a rank amateur who is bankrupting our country.

    August 4, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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