Commentary Magazine


Read Between the Lines, Not His Lips

John McCain regularly accused then-candidate Barack Obama of being a tax-and-spend liberal, seeking to “spread the wealth” as Obama disclosed in a much regretted off-hand comment. Well, the spending promises were discarded instantaneously. He did not go “line-by-line” through the budget nor have we seen a net reduction in spending.

Now the cat is out of the bag on taxes as well. Really, you knew this was coming:

The White House seems to be retreating from President Barack Obama’s campaign promise that he would not raise taxes on families making less than $250,000. Under persistent questioning from ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod declined to restate the vow and left open the possibility that the president might sign health care reform legislation that taxes high-cost, employer-provided insurance plans which some middle-class families currently receive tax free.

Actually they already broke the promise with tax hikes on cigarettes and the cap-and-trade energy tax. Even if we take the CBO’s modest number at face value (e.g. $175 per person) that does have a way of adding up. Bill Kristol did the math and noted the timing on Fox News Sunday: “$175 a person is, what, five, 600, seven, $800 a family, depending on how many — how big your family is. That’s kind of a lot of money to heap on families in the middle of a recession.”

Obama ran as a fiscal moderate — swearing affection for markets and promising only to tax the “rich.” The reality, just as McCain predicted, is quite different. The question remains whether the voters will notice and object to having been so blatantly deceived.

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