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Sunday, April 25, 2010
Obama's Broken Promises
In a Reason Magazine interview last year, Ted Balaker asked me about my hopes for the incoming Obama administration. "Maybe Obama will be financially responsible," I said.
I’m so inclined to wishful thinking.
It's now been one year since Obama took office. He promised fiscal responsibility. Then he broke lots of those promises. Here is a list of some:
Promise #6: No Tax Increase on Families Making Under 250k
“Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase - not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes,” Obama said in a September 2008 town hall meeting in Dover.
Reality: In his first year in office, he proposed Cap and Trade, which would be a fat tax on everyone. He increased the cigarette tax by 159 percent, and now we have that proposed tax on fancy health care benefits.
During the campaign, he criticized John McCain for just suggesting that.
“My opponent can't make that pledge [not to raise taxes] and here’s why: for the first time in American history, John McCain wants to tax your health care benefits," he said in the same speech.
But now it's Obama who wants to tax health plans:
“This reform will charge insurance companies a fee for their most expensive policies,” he said in his health care address to Congress.
Promise #5: Ban Earmarks
"We are going to ban all earmarks,” Obama said at a press conference on January 6, 2009.
Well, briefly. C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb said, “The only time we’ve been allowed to cover the White House part of it was one hour inside the East Room, which was kind of just a show horse type of thing.”
Promise #2: Putting bills online
Obama promised “When there’s a bill that ends up on my desk as President, you the public will have five days to look online, and find out what’s in it before I sign it.”
Reality: He broke that promise when he singed his first bill, the Fair Pay Act. He's broken it since, for instance on the Credit Card Bill of Rights and an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Promise #1: Cutting spending
On the campaign trail, Obama promised to cut spending several times. In the second presidential debate, he said that “actually, I am cutting more than I’m spending. So it will be a net spending cut.”
In the third debate, he reiterated: “what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.”
Of course, Republicans made claims like that, too. Bush Sr. is famous for his “Read my lips. No new taxes” line. Bush Jr. made statements like “Prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government.”