Democrats' angst at Obama's tax pledge
You would have to believe in magic to think that health care reform will reduce expenditures. There is zero evidence of that and with the expansion Democrats are pushing it would be even less likely unless they cut benefits to current recipients who are yelling at them at Town Hall meetings.
During last year's campaign, President Obama vowed to enact a bold agenda without raising taxes for the middle class, a pledge budget experts viewed with skepticism. Since then, a severe recession, massive deficits and a national debt that is swelling toward a 50-year high have only made his promise harder to keep.
The Obama administration has insisted that the pledge will stand. But the president's top economic advisers have refused to rule out broad-based tax increases to close the yawning gap between federal revenue and government spending and are warning of tough choices ahead.
Republicans are already on the attack, accusing Obama of plotting to break his no-tax vow, the same political transgression that cost Democrats control of Congress under former president Bill Clinton and may have cost president George H.W. Bush his job. Democrats say Obama is highly unlikely to break the pledge before next year's congressional election and observe that it would be safer to wait until his second term if a tax increase becomes unavoidable.
Some lawmakers are focused instead on setting up an independent commission to solve the deficit problem. Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) plans to hold hearings on the idea when Congress returns to Washington this fall.
Obama, meanwhile, has vowed to pay for any new initiatives and to draft an overhaul of the health-care system that eventually would save the government money, driving deficits down. But effective health reforms would take decades to produce savings. In the meantime, White House budget director Peter R. Orszag acknowledged, "there are additional steps that will be necessary."
I have a low regard for Democrats and tax pledges to begin with, but Obama's run up of the deficit seems like a deliberate attempt to screw up the economy and then put us in a position of having to raise taxes. All those angry people at Tea Parties and Town Hall meetings are just a foretaste of what will becoming the Democrats way when they finally break the tax pledge.