Obama's fraudulent tax argument

Rich Lowry:

"If your family earns less than $250,000 a year," Obama said in his speech to a joint session of Congress, "you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime." Unless, that is, your family pays a utility bill.

Earlier from the same podium, he exhorted Congress to send him "legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution." This cap-and-trade program would increase the cost of energy for everyone, regardless of income. It is a broad-based (if indirect) tax hike of the sort the casual listener would have thought Obama ruled out in categorical language.

Obama's just-released budget outline proposes using revenues from cap-and-trade to fund his "making work pay" tax credits that were part of the stimulus bill. Of those credits, Obama said, "The recovery plan provides a tax cut - that's right, a tax cut - for 95 percent of working families." This was a central Obama campaign pledge, although he never mentioned he'd fund it with a countervailing tax hike on working families and everyone else.

If you follow the money - out one pocket, in the other - Obama's campaign promise is exposed as a fraud.

In his speech, Obama didn't want his listeners to think he's a big-government heir to Lyndon Johnson, so he talked of slashing waste. He said his team had begun going "line by line" through the budget, and "we have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade."

In common parlance, "savings" is taken to mean . . . well, savings. But half of this $2 trillion is accounted for by Obama's planned tax hikes on the rich - in other words, he has identified revenue, not savings. Much of the rest is arrived at by assuming the Iraq War would cost $170 billion a year for the duration, even though Obama has long planned a drawdown. He portrays himself as ruthlessly paring back government when he is simply raising taxes and leaving Iraq.

Obama boasted of a "recovery plan free of earmarks, and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities." Again, the casual listener might conclude he won't tolerate earmarks, although a $410 billion spending bill is speeding through Congress with 8,500 earmarks that Obama stands ready to swallow.


Democrats have always been good at the politics of fraud. Obama is extraordinary in that regard. It will take a while for voters to figure it out, but Lowry is on the right track.


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